I am a general medical practitioner, with 30 years experience in north-central Montana, and have lived in this community for more than 20 years.
Montanans Against Assisted Suicide has decided to appeal its case with the Montana Medical Examiner Board to the Montana Supreme Court, and I am glad to see it (online at http://www.kxlh.com/news/kxlh-evening-top-news-wed-feb-21). My hope is that the appeal will end the controversy about assisted suicide possibly being legal in Montana.
My concerns about legalizing assisted suicide include that it will encourage "lazy doctoring." I say this because it is easier for a doctor to write a prescription to end the patient's life, as opposed to doing the sometimes had work of figuring out what is wrong with a patient and providing treatment. I am also concerned that legalization will give bad doctors the opportunity to hide malpractice by convincing a patient to take his or her life. Havre and the surrounding communities have been very fortunate in the quality of their doctors over the years.
The American Medical Association, Ethics Opinion No. 2.211, states: "Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician's role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks."
I agree with this statement and it is a primary reason that I am a member of the AMA. Allowing legalization of physician-assisted suicide in Montana will compromise and corrupt my profession. Legalization will also put the lives and well-being of my patients at risk.
Carley C. Robertson, MD