Re: “Our View: Maine should pass aid-in-dying law,” the April 7 editorial regarding L.D. 1313:

With all due respect, this bill indeed supports assisted suicide. I feel this is dangerous to patients, to the medical profession and to society.

Patients already have the ability to decline extraordinary measures that only prolong death, as well as to receive aggressive pain relief and palliative care.

The problems with this bill include:

• Doctors cannot accurately predict life expectancy. (Ask any nurse or hospice worker!)

• Doctors all too frequently misdiagnose illnesses.

• Assisted suicide encourages judgment of the disabled as “life unworthy of life.”

• Some undiagnosed depressed (but treatable) patients will choose suicide. Depression is often hard to diagnose until some time elapses, accompanied by developing a trusting relationship with the physician.

• The Hippocratic Oath forbids giving patients the means to harm themselves. This ancient wisdom is denied at our risk, and doing so creates a slippery slope – deny it though many will!

David L. Smith, M.D.


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