N.J. already has compassionate end-of-life options

TrentonTimes

By Times of Trenton guest opinion column 
on August 25, 2014 at 5:20 AM

By Dr. Joseph F. Fennelly

A recent Fairleigh Dickinson University Public Mind poll asked, “If you were to become terminally ill and have fewer than six months to live, would you or would you not want the legal option to end your own life with the assistance of a physician?” Of the 819 respondents, 51 percent say the state should pass a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs if they are expected to die within six months.

Read more: N.J. already has compassionate end-of-life options

Doctor-assisted suicide poses very real risks

TrentonTimes

August 16, 2014 at 5:54 AM

We write in response to The Times’ editorial “Death with dignity for the terminally ill proposal includes critical safeguards” (Aug. 10).

The assisted suicide bill, Death with Dignity for the Terminally Ill Act (A2270), has not been passed because of dangers it poses, brought to public attention by an alliance of disability rights advocates, medical professionals and palliative care and hospice specialists.

Assisted suicide is structured in a way that presents very real risks of abuse by greedy heirs and caregivers. We don’t all live in “Leave-it-to-Beaver” households. Who would know if an elderly person is pressured into suicide?

Read more: Doctor-assisted suicide poses very real risks

N.J. assisted suicide proposal ignores wrong diagnoses of terminal illness

TrentonTimes

By Times of Trenton Letters to the Editor 
on August 24, 2014 at 6:27 AM

Virtually every state’s chapter of the American Medical Association is opposed to assisted suicide, the reasons for which were absent from The Times’ recent editorial, “Death with dignity for the terminally ill includes crucial safeguards” (Aug. 10).

Studies show that diagnoses of terminal illness are very often wrong. A doctor may know someone has an illness, but determining how quickly it might kill the patient or even if it will kill him or her is difficult to determine. A wrong prognosis can easily lead patients into a spiral of hopelessness and to give up on treatment unnecessarily, thereby prematurely ending their lives.

Read more: N.J. assisted suicide proposal ignores wrong diagnoses of terminal illness

Death with Dignity Act lacks safeguards to protect patients who are depressed

TrentonTimes

By Times of Trenton Letters to the Editor 
on August 27, 2014 at 6:07 AM

Assisted suicide brings with it consequences on society that The Times’ editorial board ignored in its latest editorial on the issue, "Death with Dignity for the Terminally Ill proposal includes critical safeguards" (Aug. 10).

In Washington state and Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal, there is virtually no oversight to protect those who may be depressed, which often, if not always, occurs at some point during the course of an illness. 

Read more: Death with Dignity Act lacks safeguards to protect patients who are depressed

People with disabilities at risk from assisted suicide measures

TrentonTimes

By Times of Trenton Letters to the Editor 
on August 22, 2014 at 6:47 AM

In its editorial "Death with dignity for the terminally ill proposal includes critical safeguards" (Aug. 10),The Times' assurances that the Death with Dignity for the Terminally Ill Act (A2270) has safeguards is not very reassuring to those of us with disabilities, who see it as dangerous to our lives.

Citing the Oregon and Washington laws as further assurance simply repeats propaganda from proponents. The Oregon law has no protection against coercion used against vulnerable people by those whose motives involve fraud or abuse. Oregon annually destroys data in the doctors’ reports about the deaths allowed by the law, leaving only statistics without investigation, so it is really overreaching to say the law has meaningful protections.

Read more: People with disabilities at risk from assisted suicide measures