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ADVOCATES FOR TERMINALLY ILL OPPOSE RULING ON WASHINGTON STATE'S BAN

ARLINGTON, Va., March 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Hospice Organization issued the following statement:

As an advocate for people with terminal illness, the National Hospice Organization (NHO) reinforces its position as being unequivocally against the idea of legally sanctioning physician-assisted suicide. Yesterday's decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco is socially devastating and legally appalling for all of those who believe that the most important time of living is the time before dying -- for those who believe that there is quality of life at the end of life.

Most people are not afraid of death, they are afraid of dying. Physician-assisted suicide preys on fear -- fear of being a burden, fear of being alone, fear of being in pain and the fear of the unknown. Allowing patients to die peacefully, without pain, in their own homes or in a homelike environment, is death with dignity. That is hospice.

Study after study shows one thing: hospice works. If people knew more about it, we think they would oppose the idea of doctors using medicine to help patients die. The 25,000 hospice professionals and 96,000 volunteers throughout the United States have no doubt that the best possible medical care available to a terminally ill patient is hospice.

The philosophy of care, which emphasizes pain and symptom control, seeks neither to hasten nor postpone death. It is a patient- and family-focused, cost-effective way of caring for terminally ill patients. Whenever possible, patients are cared for in the comfort of their own homes surrounded by families and friends.

To live in comfort, and die with dignity surrounded by loved ones, is a gift our community should strive to give all terminally ill patients.

For more information about hospice contact David Schneider at 703-243-5900, ext. 35.
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/CONTACT: David Schneider of the National Hospice Organization, 703-243-5900, ext. 35/

CO: National Hospice Organization ST: Washington, California, Virginia IN: HEA SU:

JA-KS -- DCTH040 -- 1397 03/07/96 18:41 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 7, 1996
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