Taunton Daily Gazette Letter: A good time to take action on end-of-life options

March 31, 2020

An excerpt from the Taunton Gazette letter to the editor, “Letter: A good time to take action on end-of-life options,” by Eric J. Ruby, M.D., F.A.A.P., published March 30, 2020:


Is it the right time to talk about dying wishes during the coronavirus epidemic? Shouldn’t we focus on the quality of life we have now and will most likely have in future days?…

Emily Aaronson’s (an attending emergency room physician) Guest Opinion in the Taunton Gazette, March 27, is a reminder during crisis that this can be a time of opportunity: We should make our wishes known to our loved ones as end-of-life care may be thrust upon us suddenly. With scarce resources for emergency room personnel and at hospitals, your preferences matter only if they are known.

Aaronson’s article reminds us what lack of public health preparedness means to our population, our economy, and our lives. But we, as individuals, can prepare.

Presently in the Massachusetts Legislature is a bill that begs the larger question. One that gives a person time to think, consult with family, physicians and clergy.

The End-of-Life Options Act, H. 1926, is being considered by the Joint Committee on Public Health. Granted, they have a lot on their plate, but this bill allows “A terminally ill and mentally capable citizen, facing severe pain and unrelieved suffering, to ask their doctor to prescribe a lethal dose of medication that the citizen could self-administer at a time of his/her choosing to achieve a peaceful and painless death.”

Nine states and Washington, D.C., have passed these laws already. There are significant safeguards built into the law. In states where medical aid in dying is authorized, “studies show that end-of-life care improves overall.”

No one wants to die, but we will someday. If I am terminal, I want no part of pain, the ICU, tubes, noise and commotion. I want a peaceful death at home.

Join me in urging your Senator or Representative to have H. 1926 come out of Committee and support its passage. This is not about Democrats or Republicans. This is about your decision, respecting your end-of-life wishes. Be empowered…

Read more at TauntonGazette.com.

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