My husband and I operate two adult family homes (elder care
facilities) in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal. I am
writing to urge you to not make Washington’s mistake.
suicide law was enacted by a ballot measure in November 2008. During
the election, the law was promoted as a right of individual people to
make their own choices. That has not been our experience. We have also
noticed a shift in the attitudes of doctors and nurses towards our
typically elderly clients to eliminate their choices.
Four days after the election, an adult child of one of our clients asked about getting the pills (to kill his father). It wasn’t
the client saying that he wanted to die. At that time, our assisted
suicide law had not yet gone into effect. The father died before the law
went into effect.
Since then, we have noticed that some members
of the medical profession are quick to bring out the morphine to begin
comfort care without considering treatment. Sometimes they do this on
their own without telling the client and/or the family member in charge
of the clients care.
Since our law was passed, I have also
observed that some medical professionals are quick to write off older
people as having no quality of life whereas in years past, most of the
professionals we dealt with found joy in caring for them. Our clients
reciprocated that joy and respect.
Someday, we too will be old. I,
personally, want to be cared for and have my choices respected. I, for
one, am quite uncomfortable with these developments. Don’t make our