Re "We Need Help for Better Dying," Voices, July 17: Having met Dr. C. Ronald Koons, there is no question that he is an excellent clinician and a compassionate physician, providing the very best care possible to his cancer patients. His advocacy of a law being discussed in the Legislature to legalize physician-assisted suicide is misguided.
As Koons states, currently physicians do not have the luxury of spending quality time discussing important issues with patients. There is little training in the proper use of pain management among physicians and little consideration given to palliative (comfort) care in teaching medical students. Add the fact that millions of Californians lack the basic health coverage necessary to even see a physician and it becomes clear that this is not the time to legalize physician-assisted suicide in California.