Re­lief while dy­ing

Santa Fe New Mexican - - OUR VIEW -

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


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