Dear Editor, 

When my husband was seriously ill several years ago, I collapsed in a half-exhausted heap in a chair once I got him into the doctor’s office, relieved that we were going to get badly needed help (or so I thought). 

To my surprise and horror, during the exam I overheard the doctor giving my husband a sales pitch for assisted suicide. “Think of what it will spare your wife, we need to think of her,” he said as a clincher. 

Now, if the doctor had wanted to say, “I don’t see any way I can help you, knowing what I know, and having the skills I have,” that would have been one thing. If he’d wanted to opine that certain treatments weren’t worth it as far as he could see, that would be one thing. But he was tempting my husband to commit suicide. And that is something different. 
I was indignant that the doctor was not only trying to decide what was best for David, but also what was supposedly best for me (without even consulting me, no less). 

We got a different doctor, and David lived another five years or so. But after that nightmare in the first doctor’s office, and encounters with a “death with dignity” inclined nurse, I was afraid to leave my husband alone again with doctors and nurses, for fear they’d morph from care providers to enemies, with no one around to stop them. 

It’s not a good thing, wondering who you can trust in a hospital or clinic. I hope you are spared this in Hawaii. 

Kathryn Judson, Oregon

In October 2014, Brittany Maynard, a beautiful young newlywed who had a brain tumor, announced her decision to commit physician-assisted suicide (PAS) on November 1st. Ms. Maynard and her husband were hoping, by publicizing her suicide, to raise money for the campaign to legalize PAS in every U.S. state. The media leapt on her tragic story, giving it unprecedented publicity, portraying her decision as “heroic,” and counting down the days until she killed herself. In the end, Brittany hesitated, saying, “I still feel good enough and I still have enough joy and I still laugh and smile with my family and friends enough that it doesn't seem like the right time right now.” Perhaps she was hoping someone would stop her, but no one came to her rescue. Perhaps she didn’t want to disappoint anyone. Whatever the case, Mrs. Maynard took the deadly dose on November 2nd, a day later than she’d pledged.