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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 2, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Death with Dignity: Law includes respect for human life

Having been in a family practice for 43 years in a small King County community, I have witnessed and experienced the life and the death of patients and close friends first hand. I believe the “Death with Dignity” law that we have in the state of Washington is a great endeavor to provide compassion for our fellow man [“Death with Dignity: It is unethical,” Northwest Voices, Oct. 26].

I took the Hippocratic oath in 1958, and in the 1960s the Hippocratic Oath was changed to include “utmost respect for human life from its beginning.” When a fellow human being is obviously at the end of his or her productive and comfortable life, I feel it is their right and freedom to help determine how their life should end.

I just recently had the honor and the experience to be with one of my former patients who was terminally ill. He had accessed our Death with Dignity law in this state, then self-administered his medication and had a very very peaceful demise.

The safeguards Washington state has in our Death with Dignity law are real, and the temporary fluctuations of our human emotions are sincerely and seriously addressed to ensure the law’s intended purpose.

James Monahan, Bothell

Comments | More in Health care | Topics: Death With Dignity Act, Doctor-assisted suicide, health

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