A terminally ill cancer patient who was diagnosed with a deadly form of brain cancer used a Oregon law to end her own life on Saturday.
Brittany Maynard was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiform this past January. The 29-year-old Californian was given just six months to live.
But rather than suffer the indignities of losing her hearing, vision and bodily functions, Maynard made the decision to end her life before her health deteriorated.
Maynard and her husband packed up and moved from California to Oregon where an aid-in-dying law allows terminally ill patients to take their own lives on their own terms. The law requires patients from other states to establish residency in Oregon before they end their lives.
Oregon's aid-in-dying law is different from assisted suicide laws in other states where doctors administer lethal drugs to terminally ill patients.
In Oregon (and four other states) doctors are authorized to prescribe lethal sedatives to patients who can decide if and when they take the lethal medicine. The law was passed in 1997.
Vox.com explains the process: "Patients must make their request for a lethal medication in writing and then, 15 days later, make an oral request. Another 15 days must pass before the patient can fill the prescription — and they could decide never to fill it at all."
"If a doctor is allowed to give a patient a lethal injection, the doctor is the last actor," says Alan Meisel, a bioethicist at the University of Pittsburgh who has written extensively on right-to-die laws. "In Oregon and Washington, the patient is the last actor. And that lets them reserve the right not to act at all." Source
On saturday, Maynard took the lethal sedative to end her life, according to a post on her Facebook page.
"Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me ... but would have taken so much more," Maynard said in the Facebook post.
She died peacefully in her bedroom, surrounded by family and friends.
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