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CONTINUING LIFE IS PATIENT'S DECISION

I am writing in response to your editorial on "The right to kill ourselves."

Last January, my mother was diagnosed as being terminally ill with colon cancer. From January to August, I watched my mother's condition worsen. The doctor then approached her about being put on life support should anything happen to her. She was hesitant in making a decision. The next morning, my mom's lungs stopped pumping, and she was forced to be put on life support. Our family then was called to the hospital to make the decision on whether to keep her on or take her off life support.

We battled for a few hours while she lay lifeless on this machine. It was the hardest decision we ever had to make, or will ever make, but we took her off. Within an hour or so she died.

I think that terminally ill cancer patients should be given a choice, as their "right to die," to commit suicide or not. I could not even imagine holding on to my mother just because we were battling the state on euthanasia.

Please allow these patients early on in their illness to decide what is best for them. Do not allow it to come down to the last hour of their life and have someone else decide for them. It is not the state's, church's or medical profession's decision. It is the patient's.

TAMMY MESSINA
Amherst

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