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Monday, November 03, 2014

Oregon's death with dignity law claims another young person

She was too young to die by suicide or from a brain tumor.

Of course, sympathy for the 29 year old Brittany Maynard who took her own life over the past weekend with the protection of Oregon's death with dignity law. Unfortunately, the law wasn't intended to end the lives of young people, like the now deceased Brittany Maynard. Rather, it was passed with the empathy many people felt for the terminally ill who were presented in television commercials as being old and frail. There were no television ads explaining how young people would also have access to this method of suicide.

Americans are being duped by sympathy into believing Ms. Brittay Maynard died with dignity. Yes, she had access to suicide drugs approved for the purpose of taking her own life under Oregon's death with dignity law. Nevertheless, her death was a tragic suicide. 

Suicide, in fact, is epidemic in American society. It's not being discussed because the mental health implications are a violation of patient confidentiality. But, when an obituary  of a young person reads, "died suddenly" or "died unexpectedly", the chances are the death was caused by suicide. There's virtually no dignity in promoting suicide, regardless of the reason or the wrong minded compassion invoked in taking one's own life.

Obviously, Ms. Maynard was not offered the opportunity for a cure for her brain tumor. Nevertheless, when she made the decision to end her life by suicide, she had already been diagnosed with a brain tumor.  I submit she may not have had the mental capacity to make a decision for suicide under Oregon's death with dignity law.  

It's my understanding, unless the regulations changed, that every request for suicide must have the medical imprimatur of a psychiatric evaluation. A person diagnosed with a brain tumor has an impaired ability to process information. It's dangerous to speculate how this slippery slope can be accelerated to include people with other brain anomalies like seizure disorders or traumatic cerebral injuries.

Ms. Maynard was too young to die for any reason. Nevertheless, she didn't have to die by suicide. In taking her own life, her death was no different than the suicide of the popular Robin Williams, who also chose to end life "on his own terms". There was no dignity in Williams death by hanging or Maynard's suicide with drugs. Death is death, suicide is taking one's own life.  

There's no dignity in suicide. It's even more tragic when a young person is offered the opportunity to add to the growing numbers of mortality already caused by this epidemic.  

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