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Letters to the Editor

Legalize physician-aided suicide

| Sunday, June 5, 2016, 9:00 p.m.

Regarding Luis Fábregas' column “California's ‘Right to Die' Passage Opens Door for Sensitive Discussion” : I agree with state Sen. Daylin Leach. Physician-assisted suicide is legal in five states and Pennsylvania should consider being next.

To qualify for the medication, the patient must be 18 years of age or older, mentally competent and diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to death within six months as determined by two separate physicians. When discussing assisted suicide, many Americans think it may lead to poor palliative care or involuntary euthanasia. The state of Oregon has proved those beliefs to be incorrect.

According to the Center for Inquiry's Ronald Lindsay, Oregon found that after its Death with Dignity Act, the quality of palliative care actually improved. With the proper regulations, similar legislation could benefit many terminally ill patients in Pennsylvania.

As a nurse, it is my responsibility to ensure that my patients have rights. A basic right that every patient has is autonomy. Every person deserves the right to determine a course of action or plan for his or her life. Yes, as health care professionals we took an oath to do no harm. But what is more harmful: pain, suffering, loss of dignity or death?

Christina Thomas

New Castle

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