I have been reading the letters regarding the debate about the right to end one’s life if in the throes of a terminal illness. Hospice has helped many individuals in this situation and brought comfort to their families. It is a very valuable program.

However, it may not be the best choice for every patient. For some individuals, the ability to control their death may be extremely important. In fact, some individuals after obtaining the medications do not use them.

If the law reserves this option for terminally ill patients, we are not shortening life by a long time. I do not feel that the usage in states with this law suggests that it is readily abused. Allowing individuals to have this choice may bring them peace.

Nancy D. Barber, retired M.D.