‘We need more options’

Published: 8/21/2020 1:41:34 PM
Modified: 8/21/2020 1:41:21 PM

I am writing concerning John Kelly’s recent opinion piece in the Recorder [‘Older, ill and disabled people deserve choice-promoting services, supports’]. It is so filled with misunderstandings I hardly know where to begin.

Firstly, I would say to Mr. Kelly, you completely misunderstand the intent of the supporters of the End of Life Options Act now in committee in the Mass. legislature. We want EXACTLY the same thing you want, that is, autonomy for individuals. We want free choice of the type of end-of-life care a person needs, and for those choices to be made without coercion of any kind.

Mr. Kelly’s piece leads me to believe he has not actually read the text of the proposed law. While modeled on the Oregon statute which has been in place for many years, the Joint Committee on Public Health, co-chaired by Western Massachusett’s own Jo Comerford, added additional provisions to ensure that patients were even better protected. The proposed law is ONLY for people who have been given six months maximum to live. You must be terminally ill and have multiple authorizations of your capacity to make the decision to acquire the prescription, by physicians who have an ongoing relationship with you.

I would join in Mr. Kelly’s request that there be more support for disabled, elderly, and ill people in our society. But having watched someone I care about, who had wonderful home care such as Mr. Kelly advocates for, suffer weeks longer than he wished, I know we need more options.

Linda Matson



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