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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 16, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Death With Dignity Act

Doctors shouldn’t compromise moral ground

The article “Physicians urged to honor Death with Dignity Act” [NW Sunday, April 12] reflects an unprofessional bias that diminishes the journalistic value of your newspaper. The plea for doctors to participate in the Death with Dignity Act implies that those unwilling to do so for moral reasons are lacking in compassion.

As a physician, I am obligated to use my skills and knowledge in a professional manner — a manner that is informed by conscience and moral integrity. As a patient, I want my doctor to have integrity as well as compassion, to have high moral standards and be willing to resist the pressure to set them aside for any reason — including the often elevated value of personal autonomy. I suspect most of your readers also would prefer to be treated by a doctor who is not willing to compromise their moral ground.

Your journalistic credibility (and your readers) would be better served by a more careful and balanced presentation of all the concerns involved in end-of-life issues.

— Don Hill, M.D., Yakima

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