Yesterday, my former husband, Alex Bennett, and I recorded our biweekly video. We caught up on my condition with pancreatic cancer and talked a great deal about Jeopardy! host Alex Trebeck's recent diagnosis of the same disease.
We also spent some time on climate change, on both Trebeck's and my personal feelings of our great, good luck having so many people who send us much love, concern and care about our disease. We even managed to sneak in a short mention of “Jeopardy James” at the end. Have a look:
In the comments on Monday's post titled, High Rates of Suicide Among Elders, TGB reader Ellen asked,
”Are you, Ronni, considering suicide? I support whatever decision you make. Realize also that there is a suicide hotline phone number. Call them first.”
Not “considering suicide” it, Ellen. I have chosen it – medical aid in dying - when the time comes.
Although we have discussed this before on this blog, it has been awhile. I live in Oregon which more than 20 years ago passed the first “death with dignity law” - also known as “physician-assisted suicide” and “medical aid in dying” along with a few other names.
In April this year, New Jersey's governor signed a bill making that state the eighth to allow terminally ill patients to request prescriptions from their doctors for medication to end their lives. It will go into effect on 1 August.
Of course, using these laws is a bit more complicated than just saying, “Hey doc, I'm ready for those pills.”
All the states that allow medical aid in dying have similar restrictions in place. Among them:
• The patient requesting the drugs must be mentally competent
• He/she must have fewer than six months to live as diagnosed by a physician
• The patient must initiate the request for the drugs
• The request must be confirmed by two people who are not the patient's physician nor employed by the health care facility treating the patient• If the patient wishes to proceed, he/she must wait at least 15 days before making a second request
• The patient must administer the drug him- or herself
Wikipedia has a good short overview of how the laws generally work.
The State of Oregon's website, About the Death With Dignity Act, has pretty much everything you would want to know about it. Here are links to the pages about the laws in the other states that allow it, where there are also links to more resources:
I will do a more thorough post about medical aid in dying but if you are interested in knowing more now, this will get you started.