None of us really know how much we can take until we’re faced with an end-of-life situation. The recent death of “Death with Dignity Advocateâ€ Brittany Maynard has sparked much debate around the world. On New Year’s Day Maynard was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and was told she had only a few months to live. According to The Brittany Fund website, tumors in her brain caused seizures and the medications she took to treat the swelling of her brain caused rapid weight gain andM facial swelling.
Maynard later moved from California to Oregon with her husband, mother and stepfather, where she decided to take her life with prescribed medication, which is legal under Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act.
When she shared her story on YouTube explaining her decision to end her life, the video quickly went viral with more than 11 million views on YouTube. Everyone from religious organizations to politicians either expressed compassion and support or adamantly opposed and criticized her decision. Some labeled her decision a suicide frenzy, and others asked “What’s the difference between “Death with Dignityâ€ and suicide?â€
“For people to argue against this choice for sick people really seems evil to me,” Maynard said during an interview with People. “They try to mix it up with suicide and that’s really unfair, because there’s not a single part of me that wants to die. But I am dying. If I’m leaving a legacy, it’s to … be a part of this change of this healthcare policy so it becomes available to all Americans.â€
Let’s face it, death is inevitable. Whether her decision was right or wrong, it’s ideal to be aware of options if ever faced with a terminal illness or other end-of-life situation. Here are some facts to keep in mind:
- On October 27, 1997 Oregon enacted the Death with Dignity Act which allows terminally-ill Oregonians to end their lives through the voluntary self-administration of lethal medications, expressly prescribed by a physician for that purpose.
- Death with Dignity National Center is a nonprofit organization located in Portland, Oregon which has led the defense of and education about Death with Dignity laws throughout the US.
- It was formed out of a profound commitment to the idea that personal end-of-life decisions should be made solely between a patient and a physician.
- Earlier this year, Death with Dignity laws were introduced in Connecticut, Kansas, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Pennsylvania.
The Death with Dignity Act will be debated for years to come. Maynard has left her mark on the world as the new young face of the “Death with Dignityâ€ movement. To learn more about Brittany Maynard story visit her official website.
What’s your opinion on the Death with Dignity Act? #Soundoff via social media @BlackEnterprise or leave your comments below.