Linda Fleming, a 66 year old woman with terminal cancer has become the first person to die with dignity under Washington state’s new assisted suicide law, Death with Dignity, which took effect in March. Fleming died at home with her family, her dog, and her physician at her bedside after taking a lethal dose of prescribed drugs.
The new law was approved last November with nearly 60% of the vote in favor of passing the assisted suicide law. Under the law, in order to end your life you must be at least 18 years of age, declared competent, and be a state resident. Two doctors would have to certify if the patient has a terminal condition and six months or less to live. The patient must make two oral requests for the procedure, 15 days apart, and make a written request witnessed by two people.
For physicians and pharmacists who are opposed to the law, they are not required to write or fill lethal prescriptions and even some hospitals have opted out of the law, which precludes their doctors from participating on hospital property.
Assisted suicide has been a controversial topic for many generations, but it is great to see a state that is giving its citizens a way to have control over their own fates; someone who has less than six months to live and who is suffering astronomical amounts of pain due to their illness, I believe, has every right to die in a manner that they see fit. We see a great deal of cases where patients are in too much pain than they can handle and who want to die; the least we can do is give them a compassionate and dignified way out.
What do you think? Do you want to see other states introduce assisted suicide laws?