Don't promote death as the solution

I was aggrieved to read the letter by Dr George Wong Seow Choon ("Time to talk about new laws on dying"; last Friday).

I lost my mother to cancer when I was 19 years old.

She and I were very close. I was the youngest child and was born with brittle bones.

My mother was not equipped to care for a child with special needs, but she gave me the gift of life and her love.

Her ambition was for me to finish my university studies, get a job and support myself.

While it is painful to see our loved ones in pain, we should not promote the culture of death as the solution... What the dying need are the love and comfort of their family members, and the best medical care to enable them to live with hope and dignity until they go.

She kept her illness from me, as I was taking my A levels then.

The day before she died, she held my hands and looked at me as if she could not bear for me to leave.

Would my mother have wanted her life to be shortened by doctors? No; she wanted to live, and wanted to see her ambition for me come true.

I went through unresolved grief for more than a decade because I was not aware of her illness and could not be with her when she most needed me.

The fact that she died naturally helped me in the grieving process.

I would have been further devastated had any doctor intervened in this natural process of dying.

Any procedure to shorten anyone's life, no matter the intention, is murder.

A doctor's job is to heal, not kill.

Doctors who want to help patients end their lives are overstepping the boundary, especially when patients and family members may not be in a good physical, mental or financial state to make a decision.

While it is painful to see our loved ones in pain, we should not promote the culture of death as the solution.

How do we prevent the abuse of euthanasia? How do we assess the intentions of family members who request assisted suicide for the dying? Who speaks for the right to live of those who are unconscious?

What the dying need are the love and comfort of their family members, and the best medical care to enable them to live with hope and dignity until they go.

Ho Lay Ping (Ms)

 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2015, with the headline 'Don't promote death as the solution'. Print Edition | Subscribe