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Legalizing assisted suicide

March 05, 2009

Re "Assisted-suicide debate heats up," Feb. 27

We could solve the problem of assisted suicide if: First, members of the medical community would stop hiding behind the Hippocratic oath to "do no harm" (aren't they doing harm by making a terminally ill patient continue suffering?); second, the legal community would remove the specter of expensive litigation; and third, government officials would enact legislation to legalize euthanasia.

Yes, assisted suicide is a complex issue -- but far less complex than the situation of the patient with a terminal illness who is hooked up to countless wires and tubes and who relies totally on medical personnel.

Just knowing that such a patient could decide his own fate would lift the blanket of gloom. This has been proved in Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal and few terminally ill people who could choose to end their lives have actually done so.

Elliot Rosenthal

Fullerton

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