This letter responds to Alex Sakariassen’s article about the physician who admitted during a legislative hearing to assisting three suicides (see “Cowardice to courage,” April 11). I was at that hearing and I was appalled with the doctor’s testimony and his goal to legalize assisted suicide. Doctors and nurses abuse the power they already have to cause patient deaths. We should not give them more power to cause death by legalizing assisted suicide.
My mother, Sharon Moe, was diagnosed with cancer in February. After her surgery, we were told that she may be able to live for six months to two years. She was placed back in the care of a nursing facility where hospice began to care for her.
My mother was adamant that she wanted to live and told the hospice nurse that she wanted to stay on a continual feeding tube. Hospice scared her into taking it off. Hospice also placed a pain patch on her when she wasn’t in pain. They overrode my power of attorney to do this. My mother died on March 9 due to the effects of pain medication, dehydration and starvation caused by hospice. I have since learned of other people with similar experiences. I was disappointed to see House Bill 505 fail. Its enactment would have clarified that assisted suicide is not legal in Montana. Its passage would have helped stop a bad situation from getting worse.