Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More on I-1000

I have been wrestling with this issue a bit lately. I am somewhat on the fence about the issue so I've been reading some more information about it. 

I am absolutely against the government telling a person with a terminal disease, who knows, for a fact, that they are going to die soon, that they can or can not end their own life at their own specified time.

However, as I said in my previous post about the Initiative, the writing of it seems kind of broad in scope and led me to believe that someone could somehow be encouraged to take the lethal drugs and that it does not define clear enough who would determine if a particular patient is mentally competent or not.

There are certain myths that have sprung up regarding I-1000, most of which are not based in fact. So this is an attempt to separate fact from myth.

The MYTH states poor, vulnerable and/or disabled patients are being pressured into taking lethal drugs.
The FACT is that there has been no evidence in 10 years in Oregon.

The MYTH states that depressed and mentally ill people will take lethal drugs instead of seeking treatment.
The FACT is patients MUST be judged mentally competent by 2 physicians in order to qualify.

The MYTH states that patients will be encouraged to take lethal drugs in order to cut costs.
The FACT is even if carriers did coerce patients to take them, there would be no cost savings. (And any physician that did coerce a patient would be exposed quickly, leading to lawsuits and financial ruin).

The MYTH states that patients will make these decisions without telling their family.
The FACT is the attending doctor must advise the terminally ill patient to discuss their decision with their family (However, the law cannot require them to do so because of doctor-patient confidentiality). The vast majority of patients in Oregon have discussed it with their family members.

The MYTH states doctors should do no harm, only healing patients and never hasten the death process.
The FACT is that allowing a patient to endure suffering is causing harm.

The MYTH states giving more control over the dying process "playing God."
The FACT is doctors are already "playing God" by prolonging life beyond the time of natural dying.

The MYTH states that I-1000 is assisted suicide.
The FACT is labeling death with dignity as suicide is harmful to both dying patients and their loved ones. These patients are already dying.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

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