From the President:
Recently, while driving
to the grocery store and listening to National Public Radio, I heard a cardiologist tell a powerful story. He described a time when, as a young doctor, he made a terrible mistake.
His story went like this:
His patient, an old woman,
whom he described as funny, irreverent, and totally delightful. He loved her. He could not bear to let her go, even though she was very old and death held no fear
for her. In a medical crisis, she was admitted to the hospital. An attending physician became in charge of her case. When
our doctor learned of this news, he questioned the physician attending her about what he was planning for treatment. When the attending physician said, “nothing”, our cardiologist was enraged. “How can you just let her die without doing anything about it? He was so upset that he arranged to become her attending physician and transferred her to his Intensive
Care Unit. He did everything. He tested, he ordered procedure after procedure. As our cardiologist reported, he kept her alive for a seven longer, agonizing days. He concluded his story with a catch in his throat, and what sounded like the quiet
groan of someone who deeply regretted what he had done, low those many years ago.
Why am I telling you
this story? In your past,some of you may have advocated
for prolonging a life that had reached a natural end. Some of you have stories
of loved ones, who because of their doctor’s well-meaning understanding of his or her training, extended a life that
was already dying. Some of you may die this way.
If you have not contacted
your state legislators about giving Iowans a choice in how to end a terminal illness, don’t delay. Does a candidate
for election in November support choice for Iowans? Your death may depend upon
For more information about Compassion & Choices, you may call the
National Office at 1-800-247-7421. Compassion and Choices offers end of life consultation to patients and their families,
as well as to interested individuals. With information about choices, the end of life can be a more meaningful,
"Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain" - Iowa State Motto
Public support for aid in dying has remained at over
60% since regular polls first began being collected in 1977.
If any other issue held this same
kind of support for that long, it would already be a law.
However, aside from four
states, Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Vermont, aid in dying has proved to be a lightening rod issue facing
fierce opposition from some quarters of organized religion and, in some cases, disability rights groups.