Letters: Readers comment on Medical Economics stories

May 8, 2009

Out of balance

Out of balance

Harris Meyer's article "Lives in the balance" [March 20, 2009], though it postures toward "balance" and reason, is undeniably and offensively biased toward euthanasia. What's more distressing is the fact that the article clearly supports physician participation.

Even if there are fewer doctors today taking the Hippocratic Oath (and taking it seriously), one has to question the motives of physicians featured in the article such as Nicholas Gideonse, Thomas Preston, and Richard Boyd. Gideonse, who has assisted in numerous deaths of his patients, states: "It can be a very powerful, positive act for them."

YOLAN L. SHETTY, BAE, MA, PHD
New Brighton, Pennsylvania

The philosophy of suicide

If one can take his own life due to physical pain and suffering, why not for mental pain and suffering? If the latter is wrong, why is the former not wrong in Oregon and Washington?

Having seen people suffering (including today), I take absolutely no pleasure in it. If we have no say regarding how, why, or when we are born, what makes us think that we should have any say regarding how we die? The only thing I can control is what happens in between the two.

WILLIAM MORAN, DO
Chicago, Illinois

Blame the insurers

What is the difference between Hitler's policy of "mercy killing of the unfit" and the euthanasia wrapped in the words "death with dignity"? What dignity is there in killing? Where is the discussion of the meaning of suffering in human life? Is this whole movement not being sponsored by the insurance companies trying to save money on chronic care?

BOGDAN MALISZEWSKI, MD
Mayo, Florida

Killer scripts

It is interesting that all the assisted-suicide flak comes from people who don't live in Oregon, where the law has been working very well for 12 years. If all the other states considering it do it as well and as carefully as Oregon (and I presume Washington) have done, the amount of difficulty will be minimal.

It's worth restating that the law requires two physicians to concur with the family members and the patient, and the doctor only writes the prescription.

DUANE BIETZ, MD
Portland, Oregon