The Death with Dignity Act in Oregon has been in effect since 1998. It is widely recognized as “A safe, compassionate law providing comfort and peace of mind to terminally ill adults.”
In 2008, 88 people received the ‘ODWDA’ prescription and 60 people died under the terms of the act. The typical participant according to ODWDA was 72, college educated, suffering from cancer, and stating their main reason for using the prescription was the loss of quality of life. 401 people have participated in this end of life option in Oregon in the last 11 years.
401 seems low to me. Dying from a disease can mean a loss of dignity, loss of autonomy, loss of those things enjoyed and is usually painful. Dying can mean much pain and suffering for the person. The living will grieve but their hurt is not painful suffering.
Many people are in denial regarding their death. Many don’t have a will never mind a health directive. This summer I had 3 friends fathers die.
Two had been ill and knew they were dying but only one had a health directive. One was interested in the Death with Dignity Act but never made arrangements himself. As part of the law the patient must request the prescription on his or her own behalf. The rub here is that the prescription most often used is in pill form and some dying patients can no longer swallow by the time they reconcile using the medication.
Of course no one wants to go against religious beliefs on the end of life question or the patient’s wishes. The fact remains that those same wishes have to be made clear to some one. I think a paid by Medicare end of life discussion for seniors is a good idea.
My Dad said he wanted to die while playing golf. He didn’t, but just 9 days before he died at 86 he was on the golf course. It would be great if you are seriously or terminally ill and you just woke up dead. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen often so health directives, wills, and death with dignity laws are needed.
All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.