Mental Illness

1)How can you be sure such patients are sane if the state grants themthe right to assisted suicide?  The fact that they want to end theirlives may reflect their suffering from clinical depression or anothermental illness.2)Wouldn’t a patient from a low-income family be more inclined to seekassisted suicide to spare their family member from having to take careof them and pay their expenses in their declining years.  Isn’t itunfair that the pressure to end one’s life is at a higher level for apoor person in contrast to a rich person?3)Should any efforts at assisted suicide involve a physiciansupervising the proceedings?  If so, wouldn’t that be a violation ofthe physician’s ethics in that he/she is doing something that violatesthe Hippocratic Oath that instructs physicians to “First do no harm”?


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ARTICLE:“MARYLAND CONSIDERS LEGALIZING MEDICALLY ASSISTED SUICIDE”LEGISLATION THAT would have allowed medical assistance in dying forpeople who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness came within onevote of passing the Maryland General Assembly last year. The House hadapproved the bill, but it failed in the Senate on a 23-to-23 voteafter one senator said he couldn’t make up his mind and refused tovote. The bill is up for consideration again this year, for the fifthtime since 2015. We can only hope that lawmakers finally give theirapproval so that more dying people can, if they choose, be sparedunnecessary suffering.Supporters of the measure, which would give mentally capable,terminally ill adults with six months or less to live the option toget a doctor’s prescription for life-ending medication, started thesession with guarded optimism. The legislation was carefully crafted,modeled after the experience of Oregon and other states that havesuccessfully authorized death with dignity with none of the direconsequences conjured up by opponents. There were 53 sponsors. (Thenumber has since increased to 69.) Sen. William C. Smith Jr.(D-Montgomery), a lead sponsor, was the new chairman of a keycommittee critical to the bill’s advancement. Key legislative leaderswere on board. And significantly, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) expressed awillingness to look at both sides of the issue.Unfortunately, it is unclear whether the legislation will make it tothe floor of either chamber before the session’s end next month. TheHouse, which easily passed the bill last year, seems to be looking tothe Senate to take the first step. But Mr. Smith and Senate PresidentBill Ferguson (D-Baltimore) have said they won’t advance the billunless they are assured the votes for passage. One senator who votedfor the bill last year resigned for health reasons and was replaced bya former delegate who voted against it. Sen. Obie Patterson (D-PrinceGeorge’s), who punted last year with his non-vote, has not disclosedhis intentions. “I know what I’m going to do. I just don’t want toreveal it at this point. . . . I need to keep it sacred,” he toldMaryland Matters reporter Bruce DePuyt last month.Mr. Patterson and other members of the General Assembly should not begiven a pass on this issue. There’s no question medical assistance isa fraught issue, but the merits of this bill — which polls have shownis supported by most Marylanders — deserve discussion and a decision.That is what leadership is about. We urge Mr. Smith and Mr. Fergusonto make a priority of the Maryland End-of-Life Option Act, and we urgeMr. Hogan to follow through on his pledge to examine and take a standon the bill. They may think they can wait another year. ButMarylanders such as 38-year-old Debra Cirasole, suffering fromterminal brain cancer and wanting the choice to die in comfort ratherthan in pain, can’t.

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