Dear Board of Medical Examiners:
We are disturbed to hear that the Board has been asked to legalize assisted suicide in Montana. We are writing to express our extreme objection to this development.
Our brother, Wes Olfert, recently died in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal. When he was first admitted to the hospital, he made the mistake of asking for information about assisted suicide. We say a mistake, because this set off a chain of events that interfered with his care and caused him unnecessary stress in what turned out to be the last months of his life.
By asking the question, he was given a "palliative care" consult by a doctor who heavily and continually pressured him to give up on treatment before he was ready to do so. It got so bad that Wes actually became fearful of this doctor and asked us and a friend to not leave him alone with her.
Justified or not, Wes was afraid that the doctor would do something to him or have him sign something if she would find him alone. In fact, even though he was on heavy doses of narcotic pain medications and not in a clear state of mind to sign documents without someone to advocate for him, this palliative care MD actually did try to get him to sign a DNR or “Do Not Resuscitate” form without his Durable POA or any family member present. Fortunately, his close friend / POA arrived at that moment in time to stop this from happening.
Some of the other doctors and staff members seemed to also write Wes off once they learned that he had asked about assisted suicide.
We object to any move by this Board to legalize assisted suicide in Montana.
We also question whether this Board would have the authority to do so. Thank you.
Marlene Deakins, RN
Sanders County, MT