Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Response to Representative Moore

Re:  Vote "Yes" on HB 505, A Response to David "Doc" Moore

Dear Senate Judiciary Committee:

I was moved by the recent letter in the Montana Standard by David "Doc" Moore who lost his wife to cancer eleven years ago.  He says that when she "finally slipped into a coma, we thought that there would be relief." But, instead, "it was clear from her facial expressions and the constant death rattle that she was still suffering."

In 2009, my mother died a similar painful death. But it wasn't from her condition or a disease. You see, my mother was starved and dehydrated to death with massive doses of morphine after she'd had  a mild stroke. It had not mattered that she had been trying to speak and had indicated that she wanted water. The family member holding power of attorney, affirmed by a young doctor, had decided that it was time for her to die.

I watched her die, day and night for six days. My mother tried to fight, to wake up, but to no avail. To use the vernacular of assisted suicide proponents, she did not get her choice.

When I read Representative Moore's letter, I couldn't help but wonder if his wife wasn't also fighting to wake up, against a lack of water and food, against a constant stream of morphine, against a medical practice approved by doctors and nurses gone terribly wrong.

I could do nothing except watch my mother die slowly.

I have also, however, come to a different conclusion than Representative Moore. If these terrible deaths happen when aid in dying (assisted suicide and euthanasia) is not legal, what will happen if these practices are made legal? Doctors will have even more power to take away patient choice.

If we can't stop the abuse now, how will we be able to stop the abuse then?

In 2009, I first published my mother's story, which can be viewed at   I have since been contacted by adult  children in both the US and Canada whose parents were involuntarily starved and dehydrated to death.

I have been following with great admiration the efforts of Montana to rid itself of the threat of assisted suicide. I hope that you will vote "Yes" on HB 505. I offer my heartfelt condolences to Representative Moore and his family.

Thank you.
Kate Kelly, B. A., B.Ed.