Readers React: What physician-assisted suicide foes don’t understand: Aid in dying is healthcare

Activists rally in support of the End of Life Option Act in Los Angeles on Sept. 24, 2015.
Activists rally in support of the End of Life Option Act in Los Angeles on Sept. 24, 2015.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ottolia is completely wrong in saying that the the state’s physician-assisted suicide law is unrelated to healthcare and therefore was illegally passed by the California Legislature in a special session devoted to this subject.

Doctors do not just fight disease, they assist in maintaining and improving patients’ quality of life. Quality rather than quantity of life is a crucial issue in healthcare.

Patients requesting physician-assisted suicide complain of losing the ability to do what they normally do and of losing their dignity more often than they complain about pain. It is the absence of quality of life in one’s daily existence that drives a terminally ill patient’s request to end his or her own life.

The judge’s decision should therefore be overturned on appeal.


Michael Gross, MD, Woodland Hills


To the editor: Last January, my 89-year-old mother who had been diagnosed with Stage 4 terminal ovarian cancer ended her life. Her determination, bravery, certainty and strength were a model to those of us who were present.

She had no wish to suffer terribly with her illness. It was not suicide because the cancer would have ended her life in a few months.

The wonderful medical professionals who helped her were incredibly caring and knowledgeable, and at every step of the way they made sure that she was cognizant of the action she was taking. My mother was unwavering and was so thankful for this option that allowed her to have a death that matched the dignity of her life.

My family is so thankful to those who have fought and continue to fight for this compassionate choice.

Randy Bostic, Topanga

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