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August 11, 2009

Paying People To Die in Oregon


From The Daily Mail:

His body ravaged by cancer, lumberjack David Prueitt barely had the strength to raise the cup to his lips.

In it was a mix of apple sauce and dozens of crushed barbiturate pills, legally prescribed by the 42-year-old's doctor to end his life. Within minutes, the drugs had started to take effect, the terminally-ill man slipping into unconsciousness as his wife sat by his side.

If all had gone to plan, David would have quickly and peacefully passed away, his breathing becoming more labored until it eventually stopped altogether.

But it did not happen like that. Instead, after three days in a deep coma, David suddenly woke up. 'Honey?' he said to his wife. "What the hell happened? Why am I not dead?"

For another 13 days, coherent but racked with pain, David survived before finally succumbing to the disease and dying naturally in his home near Portland, Oregon's most populous city.

In that time he would be transformed from just another death to be recorded under Oregon's policy of assisted suicide into a figurehead for opponents of the U.S. state's deeply controversial Death With Dignity Act.

"He took five times the amount of barbiturates that should kill somebody and he still didn't die," his older brother Steve told the Daily Mail this week. . . .

This may seem far away, but following right-to-die campaigner Debbie Purdy's victory in the House of Lords, the Oregon experience is suddenly starting to ring alarm bells in Britain.

The 46-year-old multiple sclerosis sufferer successfully argued that it was a breach of her human rights not to know whether her husband would be prosecuted if he helped her to die overseas — in Switzerland, through Dignitas — in the event that her condition worsened.

Going further than anyone expected, the Law Lords ordered Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, to spell out exactly when - or, possibly, if - action would be taken against someone who helps a friend or relative to take their own life. Opponents of assisted suicide are deeply worried that this may lead to effective legalization.

The right-to-die lobby is already pointing to the Oregon model as a possible blueprint for Britain. Former human rights lawyer Lord Joffe is one of the movement's foremost proponents and his opinion is unequivocal. He says that assisted dying 'clearly works' in Oregon. And given that, he asks, how can anyone think that assisted dying would not also work in the UK. . .

But perhaps most worrying of all, say critics, is the trend for other treatment to be denied to those who are terminally ill. Instead of being given the medicines that might prolong their lives, they are being offered £30 to cover the cost of drugs that will end their days in a matter of hours.

To better answer the questions, it is first necessary to understand how Oregon's Death With Dignity Act has worked since it was passed in 1997. So far, 401 patients have been assisted to their deaths. The majority of those were aged between 55 and 84, white and well-educated. Eighty per cent were cancer sufferers.

The most frequently mentioned motives for ending their lives were loss of autonomy, a decreasing ability to participate in activities that make life enjoyable, and a loss of dignity.

Under the terms of the act, those requesting a prescription for lethal medication must be over 18, a resident of Oregon, mentally capable and diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to death within six months. They must also be able to administer the medication themselves.. . . (continue reading) — special thanks to my friend, Father Bud!

3 comments:

  1. Why must man make science fiction into reality?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good post.....
    Great Blog.....
    Every one should read this ....
    thanks for sharin with us......

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    DyanaDevis

    Online Marketing of your brand

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