, Newburyport, MA


November 2, 2012

Doctor's opinion on questions 2, 3

To The Editor:

As a surgeon in Massachusetts since 1965 I have cared for thousands of terminal patients and must disagree with your editorial position on Question 2.

What you may not be aware of is the multiple modalities we now have to eliminate or diminish pain through anesthetic nerve blocks and neurolysis, as well as patient controlled analgesia devices (PCA).

You have also failed to appreciate the expanding role of hospice care, also now covered by Medicare. Hospice is a multidisciplinary approach to supportive care of the terminally ill.

However, you confuse me by supporting suicide in spite of stating that “Very small numbers of patients have sought to end their lives through this law.”

There are good reasons why the Mass Medical Society is against this becoming law. Pain can be controlled, but predicting death in six months is often wrong. New medications are even prolonging good quality of life for years after being diagnosed with a short fatal prognosis.

As for Question 3, you didn’t mention that the Massachusetts Medical Society opposes medical marijuana because there is no scientific evidence of its safety and efficacy. We are an evidence-based profession and I see no reason for the ACLU to enter the practice of medicine.

We do recommend that the federal regulations reclassify marijuana so that scientific research and clinical trials can ascertain any effectiveness of cannabis.

At this time the only evidence we have concerning marijuana is that frequent smoking is associated with a significant reduction in IQ after as little as ten years of use.

Vincent J. Russo, M.D.


Text Only | Photo Reprints

NDN Video
Watch Helicopter Perform Aerial Ballet Can Buckeyes fill Miller's void? Victoria's Secret Models Prove They're in Fighting Shape How Brian Hoyer Stacks Up With Johnny Manziel Crews rescue elderly woman trapped inside flooded minivan Taylor Swift Reveals New Album 1989 is Full-On Pop Man Poses for New Mugshot Photo Wearing Shirt with Old Mugshot Photo On It Disquieting times for Malaysia's 'fish listeners' Caught On Camera: Johnny Manziel Obscene Gesture Rita Ora Embraces the Ice Bucket Challenge Bird surprises soccer player Ashley Young during game Chapter Two: Never too late to become an artist Ice Bucket Challenge Goes Viral, Raises Over $15M For ALS Damaging Winds Stop the Show! In the Cockpit of the Air Force's Elite Squadron Pathologist: Autopsy Shows Teen Repeatedly Shot Christina Aguilera Has a Baby Girl Marvel Fans: Watch Dancing Baby Groot Over and Over! Raw: Protesters, Police Clash in Ferguson Gov. Rick Perry responds to indictment
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans