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Should Massachusetts Allow Assisted Suicide?

It's one question voters will weigh in November.

Should terminally ill patients be allowed to be given a lethal drugs at their request?

That's one question Massachusetts voters will be expected to consider when the hit the voting booth in November. The initiative, called "Death with Dignity," received enough signatures to be placed on the ballot in November, according to the state's attorney general.

The proposal in Massachusetts would allow individuals who have been diagnosed with an illness that will cause death within six months to obtain medication to self-administer to end their life.

If passed, Massachusetts would join Oregon, Washington and Montana as the only states that allow assisted suicide.

Lisa July 26, 2012 at 06:21 PM
we let our pets die with more dignity that we do our loved ones.
ella watson July 26, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Lisa, I totally agree with you..except animals don't always die with dignity. Animls are gassed, heartsticked, starved and cruely neglected. Across this nation, Senior Animals are surrendered or abandoned. Others are left in apartments or foreclosed homes with out water or food. Yes I agree Dignity ...For The Living To stop the Needless Suffering is the way to go.
Lisa July 26, 2012 at 10:18 PM
True Ella. I was looking at the small picture - my own personal experiences with pets. Guess I'm fortunate to personally know any one who has been cruel to animals .
Lisa July 26, 2012 at 10:19 PM
To 'not know'
Upset July 27, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Do you think it right for a local hospital to put a 91 yrs old lady to share a bedroom with a patient who is ill with a respiratory infection without letting me and the old lady to know about this? Do you really want to know what happen to the old lady? Guess.
clifford Pial July 27, 2012 at 04:23 AM
The difference between pets is that humankind (male and female) are created in God's image so there is a vast difference. It was never meant that man should be given the power of life and death.
Jim Morse July 27, 2012 at 01:08 PM
When I hear of "Assisted Suicide," my first thought is Jack Kevorkian commonly known as "Dr. Death." Before he served 8 years for second-degree murder he claimed to have assisted at least 130 patients with their own suicide. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Kevorkian I am opposed to this bill.
ella watson July 27, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Gods image is different around the world, and throughout the centuries. Even in this moment some one is worshiping a God..that may seem different to you and me. God being so awesome and powerful..May change into what each of us see's..or wants to see. We are all Gods Creatures. Random Acts of Kindness, is what God may want for us...even in Death.
Edward Lundrigan July 27, 2012 at 01:25 PM
KIll for the love of killing --- This insanity is suicide or murder for each and every one.
Tina Poulin July 27, 2012 at 02:28 PM
There are way too many opportunities for elder abuse and abuse for those infirm. First, if someone is depressed about their health condition, instead of helping them with pain or suffering, it gives them pills to end their life when they are in a weakened state. Is this something we try to encourage in the population at large or are we remorseful when someone takes their life? In terms of abuse, a person who wishes to take advantage of another can find a doctor to help get a prescription for a person with a difficult illness and slip the pills into their food without their being aware of it. If the elder or disabled person changed their mind after getting the prescription (the actuality may be more profound than the initial thought) and another "helped them along", the cause of death is not murder or suicide, it is shown as "cancer", "COPD", whatever the initial diagnosis was. Where are the controls over the situation? In OR and WA where this is already legal, what is the reporting and follow-up on how this is being used (or abused)? Finally, why do we need an unregulated means of killing when we have hospice care and pain medications with oversight?
Scott July 27, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Tina, I suppose that if gay's are allowed to teach in schools all their students will become gay? Abortion causes breast cancer? Cell phones cause brain cancer? And all the other silly arguments that have been made. I think you should take time to read the law and learn more about the use. Two doctors and two witnesses (that's four people) have to vouch that the patient is capable of making this decision and that means they are not acting our of depression. Your argument about "they will just find another doctor" is crazy. Are you saying that a government should force us to use a certain doctor? I'm sorry but the excuse "people find another doctor" is not a smart argument. It's also impossible to swallow the pills without knowing. I think you should watch "How To Die In Oregon" it's a giant bottle of pills. Impossible to just slip into someone's food without them knowing. That much medication will have a strong taste. We a patient dies because of too much morphine, which is how people die now, the death certificate doesn't say "Overdose" why would this be any different? If this is a choice that you never want to use that's fine. But don't you dare tell me that I have to life my life and die according to YOUR religion.
Diane Coleman July 27, 2012 at 05:10 PM
This has nothing to do with religion, just the sad reality of elder and disability abuse. The Oregon law's so-called safeguards are hollow. Check out this law review article by two doctors, one from Sloan-Kettering cancer certer, http://www.michiganlawreview.org/assets/pdfs/106/8/hendinfoley.pdf based on case studies from Oregon that look beneath the official public facade. Sure, some people are safe from these risks, but they should just take responsibility for their own suicides if that's what they want. Even if they wait until they are too ill to move, they have an option - the "Compassion and Choices" assisted suicide advocates themselves admit that refusing food and water is a "peaceful" way to go (see their VSED campaign). But when we're talking about changing public policy that impacts the health care system that everyone depends on, and the real world of families that are not necessarily all loving and supportive, we have an obligation to think of everyone, not just those who are safe from abuse.
Katy Vitiello July 27, 2012 at 05:33 PM
If you'd ever cared for a loved one, dying a slow painful death because of terminal cancer, you'd be for assisted suicide.
Eric Anthony July 27, 2012 at 05:51 PM
This will be a convenient way for the state and families to get rid of old folks and since it will, like the abortion industry, be politically correct and protected from regulation, rife for abuse.
Just saying July 27, 2012 at 06:22 PM
I agree Eric you are so right on this. We are getting on a slippery slope here . In fact were are already sliding down that slope.
Tom Woolford July 27, 2012 at 07:00 PM
God gave man the power of self determination, and I for one wish religious types would quit telling everyone how they should live, You don't want access granted by this bill, fine. Buy you have no right to deny me access based on YOUR religion.
Tom Woolford July 27, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Exactly. Care for one Alzheimer patient and you would support this law. I will never put my family through that torture AGAIN. I have the means for a peaceful death should I need it and am comforted by that knowledge, law or no law.
Tom Woolford July 27, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Bullshit. The safeguards have been proven repeatedly in all jurisdictions domestic and foreign to be very effective in preventing abuse.
Noam July 27, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Thanks for shedding light on this insidious government conspiracy to kill older people. And also for sharing your insights on the cavalier way woman recklessly and unemotionally abuse abortion. I'm sure its not an emotional, difficult decision for a woman to chose an abortion.
clifford Pial July 27, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Man's self determination always leads to destruction. If you legalize assisted suicide you are opening a can of worms where it will simply mean open-season on the elderly, and now all is left for the family member or friend is to stop at the doctors office after they see the lawyer and the banker. In 1991 government back survey in the Netherlands found that most Assisted Suicides were "INVOLUNTARY" So Tom religion is here to protect the vulnerable and social outcasts. Please law makers do not give this power to man!
ella watson July 27, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Okay..Someone explain..."DNR" .."Do Not Resuscitate"..usually that can be done in an Ambulances, EMT, Emergency Rooms, Assisted Living Facilities, Nursing Homes, Institutions..........Not At Home With lLoved Ones.
Upset July 28, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Is still a bad IDEA to put a poor old lady into a bedroom to share with a patient who had a VERY BAD INFLUENZA IN THE FIRST PLACE ON A VERY FIRST NIGHT!What was the reason for that? No bed available?: You can't get away with that!!!! Tell me about the EMT services in this city? Did they passed the tests?Did they renew the tests every two years? By who?What happen to that person that teach the EMT course?Did you read about that on MedfordPatch? To save an old person to not to get into a shock,the first thing the EMT technician should do is to lift up her feet and place it over a block ,turn her head at one side and add a blanket on top of her to keep her warm. Oh by the way,this patient did got her first chest x-ray on the first night that she was admitted to the ER the very first time,not the second time. It was on the Medicare bill statement.They didn't say a word about her chest x-ray until a week later at the ER at the second time.Tell me ,how she got the pneumonia later? Guess.Do you think that the medical staffs should know better that old patients should be prevent to avoid exposure from persons who are ill with the respiratory infection in the first place when they are admitted to the hospital?
ella watson July 28, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Upset, Sounds like you went to hell and back. With the outbreak of different "flu strains" and the recent massachusetts epidemic of" whooping cough" around the country..I thought everyone with any respiratory anything..even the sniffles HAD to put on a surgical mask. The signs are posted at every entrance. Go back to the hospital and see if there is a sign or not. Take pictures either way. file a complaint with the Local Board of Health... They are in charge of public safety. Then send a letter to the Hospital dept. of patient care. You need to start a paper trail..of who you speak with. If you don't get any satifaction with what they tell you. Send that info to the "State Board of Health". If you don't mind me asking?? what Hospital are you referring to? Good luck...if this is really going on...we will all need it.
RS Connor August 22, 2012 at 08:54 PM
It is not ASSISTED SUICIDE. It is the killing of a person. It is ASSISTED MURDER. I oppose this Bill/Ballot question, and if people choose to do this - there is no way that a Physician should be involved. The whole Bill/Question is built around a LIE. If people think it is such a good idea then why is SUICIDE not the entry for the cause of death on the death certificate? That WILL be what ends the person's life - - not the terminal illness that is afflicting them. For those of you supporting this heinous action - why not put SUICIDE on the D.C.? Isn't it a bit like a person diagnosed with a terminal illness getting into a fatal car accident and still putting their illness as the cause of death? If there is nothing "wrong with it," ask yourself why it is not listed as the cause.
RS Connor August 22, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Of course DNR can be done (or actually "not done") at home with loved ones. There is a distinct difference between not going through extraordinary measures to try to bring someone back that has passed away, naturally - - as compared to intentionally accelerating the death of someone. The difference is between not performing CPR and giving someone 100+ pills to swallow. At least I would hope that people can see the difference between "do not try to bring me back if I pass away in my sleep" as compared to "please put a pillow over my face..."

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