Letter: Death With Dignity law provides needed option

Posted
To the editor:

I am a neurosurgeon who practiced in upstate New York for 30 years. I moved to the Berkshires after being retired for a number of years.

I am in support of the Death with Dignity legislation that is before the Massachusetts States legislature. Over the years, I took care of patients with severe pain from end stage cancer. As cancer treatments improved and the survival rate lengthened, the pain situations worsened and became uncontrollable despite modern pain medications. This situation would sometimes lead to invasive and destructive pain relieving procedures to try to make their last days more comfortable. In many instances, the result was unsatisfactory for both patient and doctor.

It is apparent that a Death with Dignity law would go a long way to alleviate this situation. The ability to control one's destiny at the end of life would give patients and families an option to consider and act on if they desire. No one would be forced into any decision.

I see this situation worsening in the future as treatments continue to extend life and create an end point less tolerable than ever. I am encouraged by local support for this bill and urge undecided lawmakers to vote for this legislation.

Fredric Fagelman. M.D.,

Stockbridge



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