End of life legislation

nona

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I just learned that a "death with dignity" bill has been introduced in New Hampshire this legislative session. You can read the text here. NH being the small state that it is, I know one of the sponsors and have an opportunity to get involved. I'm working on a letter of support and I wonder if anyone here has made a case for or against assisted suicide and had any thoughts or references you could share? Many thanks.
 

Clearwater AL

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Nona

When my mother was in her last days with cancer she was in a Christian Hospital.
They were doing everything to keep her alive. She was suffering and she wanted
to go. We moved her to a general hospital, they kept her comfortable and she
passed four days later.

We'll see how much political influence Christian churches/groups/politicians
jamb this legislation in New Hampshire.
 

nona

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@Clearwater AL ,so far it seems like opposition is coming from two camps: religious groups and groups who find the idea offensive to people with disabilities. Here's an excerpt from today's AP news coverage...

"Embedded in the assisted suicide debate is a grimly veiled, ableist narrative which implies that disability is a fate worse than death,” said Lisa Beaudoin, executive director of the Able New Hampshire advocacy group.

Nancy Elliott, a former state representative from Merrimack and chairwoman of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition USA, highlighted the bill’s language about the mental anguish, the prospect of losing independence and embarrassing indignities experienced by people with terminal illnesses.

“This sounds like a disability. Before I lost my husband, this was the description of him,” she said. “It is cruel for the state to say that someone, like my husband, should not want to live and be pushed toward suicide.”

Opponents, which included religious organizations and hospitals, also argued the legislation flies in the face of efforts to reduce the state’s suicide rate... "
 

KarenNWendyn

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Oregon was the first state to have DWD laws. Here is the link Oregon Health Authority : Oregon's Death with Dignity Act : Death with Dignity Act : State of Oregon

I was and continue to be a strong proponent of this law. I’m thinking there is a good chance I will use it myself. People in Oregon who use the law most often have cancer. After cancer (which is a big category), ALS is the next most common reason people use the law. Considering how much more common cancer is than ALS, this says something.

Many people who use the law to fill the prescription find great comfort having the medications in their home. Some end up filling the prescription but never taking the medications. Mostly, it gives a person a sense of control over their own death which is critical especially for a disease which takes away so much control.

The hard part requires finding physicians and pharmacists willing to participate. In Oregon, two physicians have to sign off. Physicians and pharmacists are under no obligation to participate.

One aspect of the law which makes it tricky for PALS is that the law states the dying person may be capable of self administering the medications. There must be work-arounds for people with feeding tubes and compromised hand function. It is also good to be on hospice at the time of administration and to have wishes spelled out in the advance directive.
 

Kristina1

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Because I have an Autistic child I was very involved in Deaf (with a capital D) and Autistic (with a capital A) activist circles as an ally. Both vehemently opposed DWD legislation. I was conflicted/undecided about it. Now that I'm living it I can't believe there was ever a question! It's no different than abortion. Her body, her choice. Being pro-choice doesn't mean advocating for every pregnant woman to have an abortion. Being pro DWD doesn't mean advocating for every disabled person to commit suicide. That's ridiculous! It's about choice.

It's incredibly presumptuous to me to see other disabled individuals speaking for those of us with terminal diseases. It is different. I would like to see them in my shoes and see how they'd feel then. It's not okay to silence someone else's voice or take away their choice about their own body and person.
 

KarenNWendyn

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Disabled (even severely) and terminally ill are two very different things. I can’t believe some people would equate them.
 

Clearwater AL

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Had to put this on Word first so I may be late to other replies.

Got to put this in concerning religious groups then you knowledgeable
folks can get back to legislative issues.

When my Dad passed years before Mom did he left her financially
secure. She lived many years on her own. As she became disabled,
going blind we had to step in and take over her financial affairs.

Well, we found out her money was considerably depleted.
We found out she was making donations to Jerry Falwell’s money
grubbing phony operation. They were sending letters then it went
to phone calls. My sister called them and asked them to cease.
One of their swindlers said something about “Free Will” Anyway my
sister told them to cease. A week later someone called again My sister
called again. Finally it stopped. They knew of my mother’s situation
early onto theirs requests for more “Support Donations.”

For his political machine... not so much for the poor and needy.

Hope this doesn’t make some ill but… I hope Jerry Falwell is
someplace where it is really warm even hot. And his son too.

I was raised by a very religious Mom, I still have my faith, believe
and occasionally pray. But… it’s in a much narrower avenue than
my Mom’s. I do not participate in any organized religion/church.

I apologize if this post is inappropriate. Had to say it.
 
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Nikki J

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Words matter. Assuming you support this ( which I believe you do) eliminate the phrase “ assisted suicide”from any discussion however informal. Of course it isn’t in the bill that way but when you talk about it to your friends and family use a different phrase whether it be death with dignity medically assisted dying or whatever
 

lgelb

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Naturally, I support these laws as they help create a culture that is more open about self-directed death. But if you don't have them or can't use them, you can still help your PALS exercise the human right acknowledged in most creeds, to avoid unnecessary suffering.

The number of PALS that have a "dignified death" [defined as not suffering or a life longer than what they wish] goes way past living in states or countries with applicable laws or receiving hospice services.

Death on your own terms requires only one doc or other clinician (NP, PA, depends on where you are) willing to prescribe morphine for "air hunger" and a CALS or other person willing to administer it as per the PALS' wishes, followed by removing the BiPAP mask when the person is at peace. It doesn't require dosing some pre-measured cocktail.

Thus, "death with dignity" is simply a "don't ask/don't tell" occurrence in most of the world. Karen is right to suggest that your state or region-specific advance directive be in place, if you are in a country that recognizes those. But advance directives don't replace discretion, even where DwD laws exist, because as Karen also points out, the exact provisions aren't geared for ALS.

CALS learn that they have to do what they know is right. Often, due to circumstances and PALS' preferences, CALS' responsibility extends to the time and manner of death. The loss is still agonizing, but the path to action itself should not be, if P/CALS have discussed all this beforehand.

Best,
Laurie
 
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KarenNWendyn

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That is so untrue. They are misstating Oregon’s law. The fact is the law is working well and has not been abused in the way opponents fear.

The law states very clearly that the dying person must be the one to make the request and that two physicians must independently assess the case to ensure the person is expected to dye otherwise within 6 months and meets all the qualifications. Nobody is “pushing” grandma to accelerate her demise. Most of the people who use the law are intelligent educated individuals with supportive family. If there is any discrimination, it might be that less informed people who don’t have good support systems might be less able to access this option for themselves. Or if they are in a region where they can’t access participating physicians or pharmacists.
 

Nikki J

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Can you write an op ed rebuttal Nona? I can see people with non terminal disabilities feeling possibly threatened but there is a world of difference between that and a terminal illness. I couldn’t find what the author’s connection is but found the organization. They are national
 

Clearwater AL

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i have a unique situation with Ann, But i have told others (and her) if I say "NO" to
something I want that to be my wishes whether they think I'm not thinking right
because of my circumstances. I remember to a degree what my Mom went through,
she agreed to be moved to a general hospital letting go of her faith. She knew what
that meant... it was what she finally wanted.

When the time comes, at some point, I want it to be my choice to employ.... "Enough."
 

KimT

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I'm a devout Christian and I believe in the right to determine how and when we die. It's just cruel to deny people in agony a peaceful passing. We're kinder to animals than people. I'll bet that group is a right wingnut pseudo Christian group.
 
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