Patients want to die peacefully, at home

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 16, 2014 

As a volunteer for Compassion and Choices of Washington, I work with terminally ill, mentally competent adult patients who consider utilizing the Washington law so they can die peacefully at home surrounded by their loved ones, rather than alone and in agony in a hospital.

These people already are dying, so they find the suggestion that they are "killing [them]selves," as your headline states (i.e., committing suicide), to be deeply offensive, stigmatizing, inaccurate, hurtful and derogatory to them and their loved ones.

These patients all want to live, but their terminal disease has pre-determined their fate. They simply want the option to die peacefully if their suffering becomes unbearable.

The proof of their will to live is that up to 40 of the 159 Washingtonians who received a death-with-dignity prescription last year did not take the medication, as your article acknowledged.

Cynthia Heft

Bellingham

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