The opinion piece by Dr. Barry Wu and Dr. Andre Sofair published on June 22 was so UNfair that I felt compelled to write a response. Their letter, like so much of what I hear from opponents of medical aid in dying, was just misleading, starting with the misuse of the term “assisted suicide,” which seems to be the obligatory bumper-sticker sound bite.
Terminally ill patients don’t want to die. They want to live, but that’s not going to happen, regardless of good doctors’ thoughts and prayers. They just don’t want to live out their last days without dignity. They want the right to have a say in how and when they die. That is already legal in Washington D.C. and nine states and is a right available to 20% of all adults in this country.
Medical aid in dying is no new experiment in America. It was passed in Oregon in 1997 and despite nearly 25 years of warnings about abuses, coercion and a slippery slope to the Netherlands, the evidence just isn’t there.
What I know is that anyone is just one bad death away from becoming an advocate for medical aid in dying. Drs. Sofair and Wu say they were “deeply saddened” by the testimony at the public hearing. Now, just imagine what it must have been like to actually live through that experience and not just hear about it on Zoom.
Paul Bluestein, MD, FACOG, Bridgeport