Michael Martignetti wants a state program to assist his suicide if he is suffering from the effects of his disability (“Mass. should enact End Of Life Options Act,” Opinion, Aug. 13).
I want to be able to live. I want my conditions effectively treated, and I want effective pain relief. But while Martignetti may assume he will get good care, Black people like me tend to receive inferior care because of racial disparities in cardiac care, diabetes, and cancer.
Black people like me with chronic pain avoid the emergency room because we are treated like drug addicts. Black people, particularly women, get sent home to die because we are not believed.
COVID-19 lays bare the racism and ableism behind rationing and so-called medical futility decisions. Black quadriplegic Michael Hickson was denied COVID-19 treatment because reportedly it was determined that he had little quality of life.
Doctors make mistakes. In 2009, in Washington state, my mother was determined to be imminently dying. She moved home to die, but her health improved. Eleven years later, she has her own home and is reasonably active.
Assisted suicide endangers seniors, sick people, disabled people, poor people, and Black and brown people. As long as racial disparities and disability discrimination exist in health care, assisted suicide cannot be the answer.
The writer is director of minority outreach for Not Dead Yet, a national disability rights group opposed to assisted suicide.