Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dr. David Hafer published in Senior News

I am happy to see that Bradley Williams and Ted Friesen are fighting against Assisted Suicide in our state. As a retired doctor from the state of Montana, I too am concerned over the issue of Physician Assisted Suicide.

First, and most importantly, Physician Assisted Suicide is NOT legal in Montana. The Baxter case far from legalized Assisted Suicide in our state. It merely gave physicians a "possible defense" should they be criminally charged in assisting in the death of on of their patients.

This is not a position any healthcare provider should ever be subject to. The very oath they have taken say they pledge "to do no harm." Doctor’s are often wrong in determining a prognosis for their patient’s demise. Depression is a primary reason that a patient would choose this end, and often that is associated with pain or hopelessness. Pain can be addressed through palliative measures, but as tracked through the Washington and Oregon profile, the treatment of depression is often not addressed.

Allowing Physician Assisted Suicide could position our most vulnerable citizens in a place of abuse by family members or others, that find the care of an infirmed person too much to deal with, or worse yet, would like to benefit financially from the death of that individual. We already have an excessively high occurrence of elder abuse, not to mention our state being one of the highest for suicide. This is the wrong message to send to our populace - that it is okay to have a doctor kill someone for whatever reason.

I hope the citizens of Montana think seriously about where this could lead and remember, we too, could someday be placed in the position of victim.

David Hafer