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LETTER: Seeing loved ones suffer 'very painful to watch'

Reader says MAID would save family, friends pain of watching someone they love 'deteriorate into helplessness'
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BarrieToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected] or via the website. Please include your full name, daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter from reader Peter Bursztyn is in response to 'LETTER: People of 'sound mind' should be able to choose MAID' published Feb. 17.

Pauline King of Penetanguishene has said it perfectly.

I am 81 years old and in pretty good health – today – but that will not be the case “forever.”

I, too, do not wish to spend months, even years, in long-term care waiting to die.

When I can no longer feed or toilet myself, I am clearly no longer enjoying life!

At that point, I should be allowed to die.

In addition to reducing the load on our overburdened health-care system, I will save close family and friends the pain of watching someone they love deteriorate into helplessness.

I watched a close friend – a retired university professor, who once taught students with a strong voice – lose the power to speak entirely due to a brain tumour.

My own father asked me to help him die because, by age 94, his wife (my mother) and all of his friends had predeceased him.

I told him I could not do this because the state would charge me with murder!

He did it himself by refusing to take his medication.

He eventually developed pulmonary edema, causing him to literally drown – very slowly.

His doctor prescribed morphine to lessen the associated agony; eventually, he died – drugged and unresponsive.

It was very painful to watch.

Like Pauline, I do not want to be nursed – possibly by my wife or daughters – to an interminable death.

Peter Bursztyn