I am the doctor cited by Bradley Williams in his opinion piece, “Assisted suicide is not legal, not the answer.” (Aug. 21). I am also professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Oregon Health & Science University. I have treated thousands of patients with cancer.
Williams correctly describes how Oregon’s Medicaid program uses coverage incentives to steer patients to assisted suicide, which is legal in Oregon. In other words, Medicaid will not necessarily cover a patient’s treatment to potentially cure a disease or to extend the patient’s life. The program will cover the patient’s suicide. Desired treatments for cure or to extend life are thereby displaced with the “treatment” of suicide.
I first became involved with the assisted suicide issue shortly before my first wife died of cancer in 1982. We had just made what would be her last visit with her doctor. As we were leaving, he had suggested that she overdose herself on medication. I still remember the look of horror on her face. She said, “Ken, he wants me to kill myself.”
To learn more about how assisted suicide works in Oregon, please see my affidavit filed in Montanans Against Assisted Suicide vs. Montana Board of Medical Examiners. The affidavit, with supporting documentation attached, can be viewed here: https://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/dr-stevens-affidavit_001.pdf.
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Protect your health care. Don’t let legal assisted suicide come to Montana.