A recent letter to the editor by Jana Edge advocated for offering the option of medical aid in dying to terminal patients. A follow-up letter by Marilyn Irmeger advocated for the use of hospice services by such patients.
Ms. Irmeger appeared to denigrate the option of medical aid in dying, opening her letter with the phrase "life is precious," and noting that in her career as a hospice nurse, she'd never seen a case in which a patient was unable to find comfort through hospice.
As medical director of a hospice and as a longtime advocate of medical aid in dying, I believe that both options are invaluable. Hospice services are terrific, but allowing patients the option of easily ending their misery, when they so choose, would also be of great benefit.
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Hospice and medical aid in dying do not represent adversarial positions; both serve to empower patients and to ease suffering. Hopefully our elected representatives will soon catch up with the rest of society and legalize medical aid in dying, an option supported by more than 70% of American citizens.
David M. Gill, M.D.,