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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 28, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Assisted suicide

Dignified death vindicates devoted crusader

When I read of Linda Fleming’s death last week [“Choosing when to die was ‘truly what she wanted to do,’ ” page one, May 23], I immediately thought that after all these years, Sue Baron has been vindicated.

When I was director of marketing at the Olympia Brewing Company in the 1970s, I brought Sue Baron to the brewery to handle media and advertising purchases. She was excellent, and we remained friends after we had both moved on to other activities. I was shocked, several years later, to find out from her that she had developed bone cancer. She turned the pain and suffering of that experience into a crusade for dignified death.

She was clear in her desire to die. None of the doctors she consulted could offer more than additional amputations of body parts and stronger, less-effective medicine. She took it upon herself to devote her remaining years as a vocal and persuasive spokeswoman for revision of the laws and codes of ethics that kept her alive and in constant pain against her will.

The move by the people of Washington to allow choice in the continuation or end of life is a testament to people like Sue Baron. On her behalf, I give thanks.

— Richard D. Harvey, Mountain Lakes, N.J.

“Miracle” of prayer took years of pain

A recent letter writer wrote in concerning assisted suicide. He felt a better option is to pray to God for a peaceful death [“Assisted suicide: better option is to pray for peace,” seattletimes.com, Northwest Voices, May 26]. God will hear your prayer and answer it.

I worked in a nursing home for four years before I went to college. I saw this miracle happen with my own eyes.

One of our residents, whose name I remember but won’t tell out of respect for her privacy, prayed every day that I was in her room. As soon as I came in her room she would say, “Kill me! God, please kill me! Oh God, please kill me!”

After a few years, she died.

I would rather choose my own death at my own time rather than relying on God for help if I am terminally ill. The only thing worse than a Bible-thumping fool telling me how to die is a whole bunch of Bible-thumping fools telling me how to live.

— Dennis Doucette, Auburn

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