Saturday, April 27, 2013

MD responds to doctor's opinion piece supporting physician-assisted suicide

April 26, 2013 12:16 pm  

I am a general medical practitioner with 30 years’ experience. I work in emergency medicine, with nursing home residents and with incarcerated persons. I have two issues with Dr. Eric Kress's (April 7) opinion describing his assistance of three suicides. First, since when did assisted suicide become legal? Second, I have concerns about the cases he describes.

Kress claims that his patients were not depressed. His description of one of those patients, however, suggests otherwise. Someone who is "often … found weeping and bemoaning the miserable fated that had befallen him" sounds depressed and unrecognized and untreated. And, someone who is "experiencing increasing pain in his chest…" may have needed different medications. There is essentially no pain that cannot be treated, though a secondary effect may be to hasten death. I do not know the medical facts of these cases; I do know that there were other options than committing suicide, whether or not they were explored.

Doctors’ diagnoses can also be wrong. I have seen patients in my own practice live longer than expected. With this situation, patients participating in medical suicides can be throwing away their lives. I have also seen suicidal people get better, and rebuild lives that looked pretty grim. I do not agree that doctors or anyone else should be assisting other people to commit suicide.

Carley C. Robertson, MD,

Oregon resident would not be alive today if she had used physician-assisted suicide

This letter responds to the (April 7) guest column by Dr. Eric Kress promoting assisted suicide. If Kress had been my doctor in 2000, I would be dead.

I live in Oregon, where physician-assisted suicide is legal. In 2000, I was diagnosed with cancer and told that I had six months to a year to live. I knew that our law had passed, but I didn’t know exactly how to go about doing it. I tried to ask my doctor, but he didn’t really answer me.

I did not want to suffer. I wanted to do our law and I wanted my doctor to help me. Instead, he encouraged me to not give up and ultimately I decided to fight. I had both chemotherapy and radiation. It is now 12 years later. I am so happy to be alive!

Last month, doctors in Montana contacted me to let them use my story to promote House Bill 505, which is a bill to prevent assisted suicide in Montana. This is a link to their recent press release:

Vote “yes” on HB505.

Don’t make Oregon’s mistake.

Jeanette Hall,
King City, Ore.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


This afternoon, the Montana Senate blasted HB 505 to the floor in a 31 to 17 Vote!!!!

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to get us this far!!!!

Please keep up the pressure to tell your Senators to vote "Yes"!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

HB 505 Fact Sheet (Preventing “Purposely” Assisting Suicide)

By Margaret Dore, Esq,
For a print version, click here

1. What is HB 505?

HB 505 is a short two page bill that will end the confusion over whether physician-assisted suicide is legal in Montana.  The bill does this by clearly stating that physician-assisted suicide is not legal.

2. What is Assisted Suicide? 

Assisted suicide means that someone provides the means and/or information for another person to commit suicide.  When a physician provides the means and/or the information, the term is physician-assisted suicide.  Other involved persons can include family members who assist the suicide, for example, by taking the patient to the doctor.  Such persons do not always have the best interest of the patient at heart.

3. Who Supports HB 505?

HB 505 is supported by 112 Montana physicians who joined together to run supporting ads throughout the state.  HB 505 is also supported by Montanans Against Assisted Suicide, which has submitted 4000 plus signatures against assisted suicide into the Senate Judiciary Committee.  See