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Letter to the editor: Measure 1, if passed, would destroy rights to make choice

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As the daughter of a woman who suffers from chronic pain and deteriorating health, I stand against Measure 1 and believe that this bill will directly affect my mother’s quality of life.

In December of 1998 my mother was in a near fatal car accident; little did she know that from that day on her life would change forever.  The terminal brain damage she had suffered from her car accident progressed into a disease called muscular sclerosis (MS).  Unfortunately, MS is a progressive disease which may one day leave my mother bed ridden and unable to live independently.

MS affects many aspects of her life including immobilization, difficulty thinking and speaking, muscle spasms and chronic pain. My mother was accepted to a clinical trial where they installed a baclofen pump to eliminate the daily pain she experienced due to muscle spasms. Baclofen pump placement has certain risks and complications including failure to obtain relief of spasticity, need for further surgery or even death.

If passed, Measure 1 would destroy this fundamental right of choice. It would also deny patients’ right to quality of life.  If a person chose to take part in an experimental study, but was denied participation due to a potential health risk, he or she would be forced to endure chronic problems due to his or her illness.

What is at stake here, is a patient’s right to choose.  If Measure 1 was to pass, my mother and other individuals who suffer from chronic illness may not be given the choice of alternative treatment.  Will they be forced to continue suffering despite their own wishes to pursue treatment that may carry risks?  I ask you to join me in voting no on Measure 1.

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