Re "A humane stance on dying kids," Opinion, Feb. 20
Unsettling decisions regarding a child's "right to die" and whether his or her life measures up anymore must be determined carefully. Members of a medical and psychosocial team, as well as the patient and patient's family, should be included in the process.
With guidance by trained professionals, the process of listening to a sick child's fears and frustrations can help to decipher sometimes subtle differences between depression, cognitive disorganization, feelings of hopelessness and a desire to hasten one's own death. Essential concepts including autonomy, liberty, dignity, human flourishing, beneficence and paternalism should enter into the decision-making process.
Marina del Rey
The writer, also an attorney, is a member of the faculty at
Religious groups that oppose legalizing assisted suicide apparently feel that only their respective deities should decide when and under what circumstances one's life should end.
But an omniscient, compassionate deity must know that it gave humans the intellect to determine with medical certainty when one's demise becomes irreversibly imminent and when one's suffering becomes intolerable.
That deity, then, doubtless will eternally embrace one who, in such compelling circumstances, opts for assisted suicide. This conclusion should apply no less to a minor who convincingly displays "capacity for discernment."