Legislating killing is a serious issue. The state, as deemed sacred, holds the sole right to enact that taboo. I am the first to recommend decreasing the power of the state but this is not the arena to do it. The slippery slope did not occur in Oregon, but could occur if our economy worsens. End of life care does rob us of medical resources but not when that care is hospice rather than an ICU.

As a hospice RN, I can attest that the percentage of patients with unremitting symptoms is so small that it does not warrant changing our laws. There is an ethical principle that allows medicating a patient even if that medication results in death if the actual purpose of its’ administration is to ameliorate symptoms. Those not made comfortable enough in their body, mind and soul to let go can be dropped into a drug-induced sleep until they pass.

There is dignity even with pain and loss of function.

Is an infant in diapers without dignity? Is a mother in labor without dignity? Frequently, patients are afraid of being a “burden.” Having the gift to care for your loved one is not a burden; it provides a healing balm after they are gone. There is a natural recompense for raising children – it is the circle of life.

Unbelievable family interactions occur when dying is normalized in the home and children are part of the last days and yes – even help in the care. Perhaps the lack of respect for life in the opioid epidemic and nihilistic youth behavior stems from being shielded from the normal stages of life. There is no greater wisdom then that found in nature and I say let her take her course.

Deborah de Rivera