Maurer was right: Give people relief

August 24, 2009

Mickey Maurer’s commentary (Aug. 10) on physician-assisted dying resonates with all of us who have experienced a loved one’s suffering with a terminal illness.

There was a related case about 25 years ago when former Indiana Gov. Otis Bowen, M.D., became desperate when his beloved wife, Beth, was dying with extreme pain from multiple myloma, a cancer in her bones. Bowen turned to Indiana state Sen. Larry Borst, chairman of the Finance Committee and a veterinarian, and asked for dimethyl sulfoxide solvent, an experimental painkiller meant for horses.

When Borst protested that this was breaking the law and he could lose his license, Bowen assured him that this would not happen as long as he was governor. Borst supplied the drug and it provided a lot of relief. He said the moral obligation of compassionate use of the drug was paramount.

It is time for competent Hoosiers suffering at the end of their lives to have access to all modern medicines for humane relief. Oregon proves this can be done responsibly.

Clarke Miller
President, Compassion & Choices of Indiana

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