Jeffrey and Lonette Stayton Awards for Writing The right to assisted suicide is a significant topic that concerns people all over the United States. The debates go back and forth about whether a dying patient has the right to die with the assistance of a physician.
Jon LaPook is the correspondent. Denise Cetta and Kevin Finnegan, producers. Brittany Maynard was dying of brain cancer when she decided to drink a lethal prescription to end her life.
She was just 29 years old. Her decision made her a symbol in the debate about how much we should be able to control the time and manner of our own death. This is not euthanasia, when a doctor gives a patient a lethal injection.
Aid-in-dying, or what opponents call "assisted suicide" and supporters call "death with dignity," relies on people taking the medication themselves.
Brittany Maynard had been married less than a year when the headaches began. This MRI revealed a deadly mass -- it turned out to be brain cancer so aggressive doctors gave her only six months to live. All evidence points to the fact that this cancer will kill me.
Being able to take a medication that allows me to slip into a sleep in five minutes and pass away most likely within the half hour sounds a lot better to me just as a human being, as a daughter, as a wife.
And I think it sounded better to my family than reading about the alternative. The alternative, husband Dan Diaz says, was for Brittany to endure weeks of agonizing decline.
At this point I am not afraid of death. But I am afraid of being tortured to death.
What did she mean by being tortured, specifically? What was she afraid of? I mean, the seizures were bad enough as it was.
Pain was just constant. So in the spring ofBrittany told Dan it was time to pack up and head to Oregon Once she became an Oregon resident, Brittany had to make two verbal requests -- 15 days apart -- to a doctor, fill out this written form, and have two physicians confirm she was mentally competent and expected to have less than six months to live.
The medication often prescribed is secobarbital. A barbiturate that in small doses causes sleep, in large doses, death. Here in Oregon a patient comes in with a prescription and gets a bottle of of these capsules. Each one has to be opened up individually and one by one the powder poured into a glass and the contents dissolved in water.
This is the prescription for Death with Dignity. I think people think, "Oh well, you apply for that medication. And then, you get that. You apply for that medication.Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia: Beyond Terminal Illness Advocates for physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia often claim these practices will only affect a narrow class of terminally ill patients who are expected to die soon in any case.
People who are pushing for the legalization of physician-assisted suicide say that there are terminally ill individuals who feel that they emotionally, physically and financially drain members of the family because of their being sick.
And even among the terminally ill, the suffering that causes some to seek a quicker death may not be physical. Doctor-assisted death on grounds of mental suffering should therefore be allowed. For most people, the right to end one's life is a right they can easily exercise But there are many who want to die, but whose disease, handicap, or condition renders them unable to end their lives in a dignified manner.
When such people ask for assistance in exercising their right to die, their wishes should be respected. The doctors should not be allowed to assist seriously ill patient with suicide because they will be killing these people. If a doctor helped ill patient with suicide is considered to be guilty of murder.
Again. The doctors should not be allowed to assist seriously ill patient with . No one wants to make suicide easier for the depressed: many will recover and enjoy life again. But mental pain is as real as physical pain, even though it is harder for onlookers to gauge.
And even among the terminally ill, the suffering that causes some to seek a quicker death may not be physical.