Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Assisted suicide is dangerous

I am a doctor in Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal. I was disturbed to see that the suicide lobby group, Compassion & Choices, is beginning its indoctrination of your state to accept assisted suicide as somehow promoting patient "choice." ("How does one choose end-of-life care?," Idaho Mountain Express, June 23).

When evaluating this claim, remember the names Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup. Wagner was an Oregon resident who died in 2008. The Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) refused to pay for a cancer drug to possibly prolong her life and offered to pay for her suicide instead. This position saved the plan money.

Stroup had a similar experience. The plan would not pay for a drug to prolong his life and ease his pain, but would pay for his suicide.  He said:  "This is my life they're playing with."

In both cases, the Oregon Health Plan's position was only possible because assisted suicide is legal in Oregon. With  assisted suicide now at issue in Idaho, will you and your families be the next Randy Stroups? Will you be the next Barbara Wagners?

Kenneth Stevens, M.D.

Sherwood, Ore.

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