To the editor:

One of the best things that could happen in Massachusetts in this new year would be for the Legislature to pass a “death with dignity" bill called the “End of Life Options Act” (H.1926).

It would make our state the 10th to legalize medical, compassionate aid in dying for our terminally ill citizens who face unbearable and irrelievable suffering at the end of life.

As a geriatric social worker for over 30 years, I have seen all too many examples of unnecessary suffering. Hospice and palliative care do a great job in the majority of cases, but there are still many where pain management just isn't successful.

Death with dignity laws are nothing new. Oregon has had one for 22 years, Washington for 11, Vermont for seven, and California for four. Maine and New Jersey just passed it.

And the safeguards in these bills are strong enough that there has not been one documented and proven case of coercion of a dying person.

Please contacting our state representatives to urge their support for the death with dignity bill, and contact westernmassachusettsdeathwithdignity.org for more information.

Sharyn Russell

Haverhill

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