Death with dignity

Thursday, October 9, 2014

There is a video has gone viral in which a woman has relocated to Oregon to avail herself of the Death With Dignity statute on the books in that state.

This is a pretty hot button topic.  Should an individual who is terminally ill have the right for request a doctor to request a prescription for a medication that will end their life?

I support this right.  I have not been diagnosed with a terminal illness. I have watched people I love suffer horribly, and yes, I have prayed for their suffering to end.

No one deserves to suffer and spend their last time in pain or dealing with unbelievable anxiety. Illnesses like this can rob a person of everything.  In the small amount of experience I have had dealing health issues- the lack of control is paralyzing. Giving  a little control of their destiny is just and compassionate.  Individuals can choose when they die, surrounded by people who love them. Not alone, in fear, in the hospital.

Life is precious and sacred.  Prolonging life by prolonging suffering is not respecting life it is not protecting the value in a person.

"First do no harm" is a crucial doctrine of medicine.  Is it harmful to make a person suffer? Is alleviating that suffering more important?  The Oregon law does not permit a doctor to administer the drugs to the individual.  They must ingest them themselves. This protects doctors from violating their oath.  Doctors are also not required to write these prescriptions.

There are safe guards to help ensure that people are not coerced, that individuals are competent, that individuals understand what they are doing. It doesn't make it perfect, but it helps.

There was a case of a person who wanted to to continue his fight and pursue more treatment, but his insurance declined to pay for it and instead offered only palliative/hospice care up to and including death with dignity.  This is horrible.  This is a decision that an individual needs to make on there own, not because of an insurance companies assessment of value.  This is one of my primary concerns with this law. No one but the individual affected should have a say in when enough is enough.  Different people will have different lines in the sand as where that is.

In a perfect world cancer wouldn't happen or be able to be cured with relative ease.  As that is not the case a person needs to have the right to protect their dignity.

I am not in this situation, but people who are need to have this choice. It is not the right choice for everyone and that is fine. We are all individuals and one size does not fit all.

There are lot of people who say this is against their beliefs and that is okay, one persons beliefs should not dictate another's rights.

Many more prescriptions have been written under the Death With Dignity law than have been used.  Suggesting, that having that piece of mind and sense of control is extremely important as well.


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