You may remember our blog post last year sharing the story of Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old young woman with aggressive terminal brain cancer and a prognosis of death in the following few weeks. She decided to relocate to Oregon from California to take advantage of Oregon’s death with dignity law which allows terminally ill Oregon residents to obtain and use prescriptions from their physicians for self-administered, lethal medications.
Brittany’s message was clear– death with dignity gave her a choice about end of life options along with relief, comfort, and peace; she could decide when enough was enough to avoid unbearable pain and suffering. Before Brittany ended her life on November 1, 2014, she collaborated with Compassion and Choices to become an advocate for end of life options. Together they were instrumental in the passage of California’s End of Life Options Act on Oct. 5, 2015. To date, 25 states have introduced end of life legislation compared to 4 in 2014.
Although there are many different opinions about the death with dignity law, the important issue to consider is awareness, reflection, and decision making before the situation presents itself.