Marcia Angell, MD, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, wrote in "The Quality of Mercy," which appeared in the July 11, 2006 edition of The Willits News:

“Death is not fair and it is often cruel. Some die young, others in extreme old age. Some die quickly, others die slowly but peacefully. Some find personal or religious meaning in the process, as well as an opportunity for a final reconciliation with loved ones. Others, especially those with cancer, AIDS, or progressive neurological disorders, die by inches and in great anguish. Good palliative care usually can help in these cases, but not always, and often not enough…

There is no right way to die, and there should be no schism between advocates for better palliative care and advocates for making it possible to hasten death with a physician’s help. Good palliative care and the right to make this choice are no more mutually exclusive than good cardiologic care and the availability of heart transplantation. To require dying patients to endure unrelievable suffering, regardless of their wishes is callous and unseemly. Death is hard enough without being bullied. Like the relief of pain, this too is a matter of mercy.”

July 11, 2006