Relief while dying
I have been a family physician for over 40 years. I have delivered babies, and I have been at the bedside of those dying. In both cases, ancient beliefs had limited access to relief of pain. Women were biblically expected to deliver in pain, and suffering at death was to bring some kind of exquisite knowledge. Until recent times, pain relief was barely available. Thankfully, we no longer require suffering of our patients. The Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act, House Bill 90, is being discussed at the Legislature, and we should all be grateful. When we are dying, that knowledge is suffering enough for us and for our family.
Allowing us the gift of medication brings such relief. Death is inevitable at that point; but with self-administered medication, we can limit the time we spend in agony. Families can support us instead of sharing our agony. How wrong it would be to prevent these options from being available. Sandra Penn, M.D., FAAFP