April 07, 2020
BANGOR DAILY NEWS (BANGOR, MAINE

Man has a law inscribed in his heart by God. This is natural law. This law has been upheld back to the most ancient cultures. The first requirement of natural law is to protect the family, and protect the lives of the innocent and the most vulnerable in society.

Do people say they have a right to die, or do they feel they have an obligation to die? Those with a terminal disease are extremely vulnerable. Some who ask to die want to remove a burden from their loved ones, the burden of meeting all their physical needs. Theresa Cummings, R.N. Caribou

I would propose to change the wording of the act to divorce the onus of the word “suicide” which indicates helplessness. I propose to call it doctor-assisted dying.

I am 61, and 2 1/2 years ago was diagnosed with cancer of the tongue, undoubtedly caused by smoking. I accept my fate and do not bemoan any injustice by Mother Nature. It was a known risk I took by smoking and I am paying the penalty. Surgery took away my ability to speak and I have to “eat” a liquid diet via a tube in my stomach through my abdomen. Although additional treatment (radiation) has diminished the immediate therat of the cancer, it has now migrated to my bones and it is a matter of time before I breathe my last.

Those who try to look out for my interest by not allowing me to choose the time of death are erroneous in their thinking — that decision should be mine and mine alone. The only true way to rationally argue doctor-assisted dying is to be in a situation where one is faced with the certainy of a long, painful process leading to death. This saps not only the patient but the loved ones, both spiritually and financially. As a result of enormous medical expenses, even with insurance, we have suffered great financial losses. Added to that, because of added emotional stress, my wife has suffered serious medical problems as well.

While I agree that life is sacred and priceless, there should be a method by which one can choose to end it when the specter of pain and further fruitless financial losss causes more pain, both physical and mental.

You have to be in the siturtion before you can make any wise decisions. I urge you to ask your representative to support doctor-asssited dying in the upcoming legislative session. Donald W. Saunders Carmel


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