Death with Dignity deserves support

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To the Editor:

In addition to providing much-needed medical and economic relief for Massachusetts communities during the COVID-19 crisis, I’d like to see our legislature provide relief to many of our fellow citizens who are terminally ill with illnesses like cancer and heart disease by passing the End of Life Options Act (H.4782). The Massachusetts Public Health Committee recently took

the first step, and passed it on May 29. Now it’s in the Health Care Financing Committee’s hands. Thankfully, we are very close to passing this important legislation in Massachusetts.

I support this bill because I cared for my dying father, who suffered more than he should have for too long. I am certain he wouldn’t have wanted to spend his last days in pain, with his family unable to help him feel better. Death with Dignity is not for everyone, but I believe it should be available as an option to those who are interested and for whom it is appropriate. 

My father and I talked about it many times throughout his life, and he was an avid supporter of the Death with Dignity platform. 

Hospice and palliative care services offer the most amazing and wonderful support to our dying community members, and I will be eternally grateful to Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard for their awe-inspiring care of both of my parents before their death. Their service and true expertise is unparalleled, and a huge gift to our Island community. However, in many cases people still die in great pain and unrelieved suffering. Such terminally ill and mentally capable people should have the option of medical, compassionate aid in dying, like Maine, Vermont, New Jersey, California, Oregon, Hawaii, and Colorado, plus Washington, D.C., have authorized over the past 23 years.

The Boston Globe recently released the findings of a public opinion poll it conducted with Suffolk University, finding that 70 percent of the public support legalizing this Death with Dignity option. If you feel the same, please contact your legislators and urge them to support passage of H.4782. Also, please ask your friends and family members throughout Massachusetts to consider doing the same. Find out more about Death with Dignity at deathwithdignity.org,

and thank you so much for your consideration of ensuring this crucial end-of-life freedom.

 

Polly Simpkins
Vineyard Haven