Friday, May 22, 2009

First death under new Washington suicide law

First death under new Washington suicide law
OLYMPIA, Wash. - A 66-year-old woman who had stage 4 pancreatic cancer is the first person to die under Washington state’s new assisted suicide law.

Linda Fleming of Sequim died Thursday night after taking drugs prescribed under the “Death with Dignity” law that took effect in March. Assisted suicide group Compassion & Choices of Washington announced Fleming’s death Friday morning.

The organization says Fleming was diagnosed last month with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

The new law was approved in last November’s election with a nearly 60 percent vote. It is based on Oregon’s measure which passed in 1997. Since then, about 401 people have used the Oregon law to end their lives.

Washington and Oregon are the only states to allow assisted suicide.

Full Story Here:

First death under new Washington suicide law
This is a topic that will illicit strong feelings from people. Strong pro and con opinions. It's a topic that I have written about in the past, Washington weighs lethal meds for terminally ill, and one that I personally have very strong feelings on.

One of the more powerful comments made on the story that I wrote back in October came from Bloviating Zeppelin, and I want to share it with you.
comment number 7 by: Bloviating Zeppelin

October 12th, 2008 at 6:03 PM
I watched my wife’s mother pass away last year of pancreatic cancer, diminishing week by week and day by day, in a small room completely by herself, 350 miles away from us, in a nursing facility. We could only visit on weekends and even then it was an extensive trip. Her last days consisted of her back arched in bed, nasal cannula affixed but still struggling for every breath, mind not present, eyes open and staring — staring for so long and not seeing, that they were completely dry and fixed, like the eyes of someone dead already.

I concur, and I likewise have told my wife I don’t want to spend my last days in an artificial, sterile room — someone else’s room. I want to be up in my cabin, my last sight that of my bed, my room, the surrounding pines. And if there’s no one home upstairs well, then, do as I’ve asked.
There are many on the religious right that would be completely against this and will quite likely castigate Bloviating Zeppelin and myself, and a few others in the comments of the original post, but as I said prior, I am NOT trying to push MY beliefs off on others, but I'll be damned if I am going to allow the American Taliban to push theirs off on me.

Death With Dignity is, in MY opinion, a right and an option that should be extended to ALL terminally ill Americans. It is not something that should be left up to the American Taliban to decide based simply on their beliefs and/or teachings. We are guaranteed the right of freedom of religion in this nation, we also need to be assured that we can live our lives with freedom FROM religion as well.

Perhaps this is where my libertarian side comes out to play. I will defend your right to stand and say a prayer or recite the Pledge of Allegiance, your right to ask me, ASK me to join you in such, but if you demand that I stand and join you, that is when we do battle! It's that simple.

I may very well have NO choice regarding the manner in which I die, that decision is simply up to God. I may meet death in an accident, a natural disaster, a violent confrontation with libber moonbats, who knows. But if I'm on my death bed because of a terminal illness, I don't want to lie there and become a cause celeb like Terry Schiavo. That is MY choice. It is MY body. It is MY life. If I am in a state of being unable to recover and live life with some degree of dignity, it is MY death and MY choice.

I know that I’m not going to persuade anyone to support this "Death with Dignity" for terminally ill patients that isn’t already pretty well convinced, but I will ask ALL of you to do this. If you don’t have a living will or an advanced directive on file with your doctor(s), a lawyer, a family member or someone that can act in your stead in your time of need, GET IT DONE NOW! Make your own decisions and make YOUR wishes known! Don’t put that responsibility off on loved ones that may be more inclined to act from the heart.

Cross Posted at TexasFred’s

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