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Don't Glorify Physician-Assisted Suicide



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To the Editor:

I totally disagree with the editorial last week [Editorial Ink Drops, “Death and Dignity,” 3/27/15] glorifying physician assisted suicide.

The American Medical Association (AMA) code of ethics rejects physician-assisted suicide. The AMA states: “Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer.”

Along with the AMA, dozens of our trusted health care professionals, professional associations and groups representing and dealing directly with the vulnerable persons that our legislators apparently want to “help” are opposed to physician-assisted suicide As notes Notre Dame professor O. Carter Snead these organizations include the:

World Health Organization, American Nurses Association, American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, Hospice Nurses Association, Oncology Nurses Society,

American Osteopathic Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, American Academy of Pain Management,

American Academy of Pain Medicine, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Academy of Physical Medicine, Society of Critical Care Medicine,

American Academy of Neurology, American Neurological Association, American Society of Anesthesiologists, American Society of Clinical Pathologists, College of American Pathologists, American Society of Abdominal Surgeons, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, Society of Medical Consultants to the Armed Forces, American Institute of Life Threatening Illness and Loss, Massachusetts Medical Society, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today, American Association of People with Disabilities, Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living, Justice for All,National Council on Disability, National Council on Independent Living, National Spinal Cord Injury Association, Not Dead Yet, TASH,World Association of Persons with Disabilities, and World Institute on Disability.

Connecticut’s laudable public policy to this day rejects suicide in favor of promoting life “across the lifespan” of its citizens, speaking against suicide in the very strongest terms.  According to the CT Suicide Advisory Board’s website, http://www.preventsuicidect.org/about-us/, it’s stated “Mission” is to be “ a network of diverse advocates, educators and leaders concerned with addressing the problem of suicide with a focus on [first]  prevention, [second] intervention, and [third] health and wellness promotion.”

The CT Suicide Advisory Board’s stated “vision” is to “to [first] reduce and [second] eliminate suicide by instilling hope across the lifespan and through the use of culturally competent advocacy, policy, education, collaboration and networking.”

Note there are no caveats in the above mission and vision statements relating to what the “suicidal” person may “desire” at the moment; suicide is seen as a problem and scourge to be eliminated (not fostered!). In Connecticut, suicide has always been seen as an evil to be combated with hope (!), and advocacy, policy, education, etc. Suicide is certainly not to be promoted by a Connecticut-licensed doctor as a quick and “final solution”!  

Our lawmakers should be working on legislative solutions related to suicide prevention, intervention and health and wellness promotion. We don’t need a legislative solution that helps people indulge in the ultimate despair of a supposed sanitized death with the help of a smiling doctor that is willing to violate the Hippocratic oath. We want legislative solutions to the problem of suicidal people that will instill hope and acknowledge the precious gift of human life.

Lil Gustilo

Yogananda Street, Sandy Hook    April 1, 2015

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