Sunday, July 20, 2014

Bradley Williams Published in Great Falls Tribune

http://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/opinion/2014/07/19/letters-suicide-aid-brown/12904197/

I disagree with Jim McCreedy's July 13 guest opinion that assisted suicide, which he refers to by the euphemism "aid in dying," is legal in Montana.

I am president of Montanans Against Assisted Suicide. We are in litigation against the Montana Medical Examiners Board over the status of assisted suicide in Montana. As part of that lawsuit, we succeeded in getting the board to remove a position paper implying that assisted suicide is legal.

Under "Baxter v. the state of Montana," a doctor and anyone else who assists a suicide can be charged with homicide. For more information about our lawsuit, which is pending in the Montana Supreme Court, please see our press release at   http://www.montanansagainstassistedsuicide.org/2014/02/maas-appeals-medical-examiner-board.html

Problems with legalizing assisted suicide include that it encourages people with years to live to throw away their lives. Legalization also creates loopholes for elder abuse, for example, when there is an inheritance involved.

For me, personally, health care is a big reason that I am against assisted suicide legalization. I am 65 years old. I don't want some doctor telling me or my wife that we should go kill ourselves. We have the right to be left alone.

For more information about problems with the legalization of assisted suicide, please go to www.montanansagainstassistedsuicide.org/p/quick-facts-about-assisted-suicide.html

— Bradley Williams, Hamilton

Monday, July 7, 2014

In Montana, Elder Abuse a Growing Concern

http://missoulian.com/lifestyles/booming/elder-abuse-a-growing-concern/article_8b895eb2-0210-11e4-bf33-001a4bcf887a.html

July 03, 2014 7:45 am  •  

Did you know that every day 10,000 people turn 65 in the United States? According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, that trend is going to continue for nearly the next 20 years.
At the same time this population is growing, we know that a startling number of elders face abusive conditions. Every year an estimated 5 million older Americans are victims of abuse, neglect or exploitation.
But that’s only part of the picture. Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported, about 24 cases go unreported. The U.S. census predicts that by 2015 Montana will have the nation’s fourth-oldest population and that by 2025, 25 percent of Montana will be 65 or older. By 2030, the number is expected to double.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Protect your health care; keep assisted suicide out of Montana

http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/mailbag/protect-your-health-care-keep-assisted-suicide-out-of-montana/article_80004bcc-ae06-11e3-99f7-001a4bcf887a.html

I am a doctor in Oregon, where physician assisted suicide is legal. I have been following the ongoing attempt to legalize assisted suicide in Montana.

I was first exposed to this issue in 1982 shortly before my first wife died of cancer. We had just visited her doctor. As we were leaving, he had suggested that she overdose herself on medication. I still remember the look of horror on her face. She said “Ken, he wants me to kill myself.“

In Oregon, the combination of assisted-suicide legalization and prioritized medical care based on prognosis has created a danger for my patients on the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid). Helpful treatments are often not covered. The plan will cover the patient’s suicide. For more detail, please read my affidavit filed on behalf of the Canadian government at http://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/signed-stevens-aff-9-18-12.pdf 

Our assisted suicide law was passed in 1997. In 2000, one of my patients was adamant she would use our law. I stalled her and ultimately convinced her to be treated instead. Nearly 14 years later she is thrilled to be alive.

Protect your health care, yourselves and your families. I urge you to tell your elected officials to keep assisted suicide out of Montana.

Kenneth Stevens,
Sherwood, Ore.

Monday, February 24, 2014

"My concerns about legalizing assisted suicide include that it will encourage 'lazy doctoring.'”

http://helenair.com/news/opinion/readers_alley/against-physician-assisted-suicide/article_7b17e3b6-9b57-11e3-ab51-001a4bcf887a.html

I am a general medical practitioner, with 30 years experience. I was glad to see that Montanans Against Assisted Suicide has decided to appeal its case with the Montana Medical Examiner Board to the Montana Supreme Court. My hope is that the appeal will end the controversy about assisted suicide possibly being legal in Montana.

My concerns about legalizing assisted suicide include that it will encourage “lazy doctoring.” I say this because it is easier for a doctor to write a prescription (to end the patient’s life,) as opposed to doing the sometimes hard work of figuring out what is wrong with a patient and providing treatment. I am also concerned that legalization will give bad doctors the opportunity to hide malpractice by convincing a patient to take his or her life.

The American Medical Association, Ethics Opinion No. 2.211, states: “Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.”

I agree with this statement. Allowing legalization of physician-assisted suicide in Montana will compromise and corrupt my profession. Legalization will also put the lives and well-being of my patients at risk.

Carley C. Robertson, MD
Havre MT