My death with dignity

There’s a pretty fair chance that at some point, I’m going to kill myself.

And when I do, it’s none of the government’s fucking business.

Opponents of I-1000, November’s statewide assisted suicide initiative, are cloaking their basic, essentially religious concerns about the measure in scare tactics over a potential for “abuse” which, in ten years of Oregon’s experience with assisted suicide for the terminally ill, simply hasn’t happened. They’re also playing with our culture’s irrational fear and avoidance of any discussion of death (the one thing everyone has in common). Their real interest is that they consider suicide immoral under any circumstances. Which is fine. I don’t care whether they kill themselves; it’s not my decision. When and if I kill myself, since it doesn’t harm them (and since we live in a secular society), it is, also, none of their fucking business. They have no right to impose their essentially religious beliefs on me. They also don’t know what the hell they’re talking about, because they’re by and large not terminally ill.

I am.

In March 1991, I was diagnosed with a terminal disease (End Stage Renal Disease, a fancy name for total kidney failure), and given a year or two to live.

As it developed, I was able to stretch out my time on the planet to 1994, when I received a double-organ transplant (a pre-owned kidney and pancreas, courtesy an 18-year-old who didn’t believe in motorcycle helmet laws). My insurance company fought authorizing the surgery for a couple of years, on the grounds that it was experimental, in the probable hope that I’d die first so that they wouldn’t have to pay for the surgery and the even more expensive aftercare. They almost succeeded. I fell into a coma three separate times in 1993; by the time the transplant was approved, I was too sick to receive it. It took another eight months of nursing me to the point where I was strong enough to endure the ten-hour surgery. By that time, my wife had been laid off and our insurance was set to expire; had matching organs not been found barely in time, the stalling would have started all over again with new insurance, or none, and that would have killed me.

All through that three-year ordeal, I had plans in place to kill myself if I reached a point of no return. I still do. I had and still have no interest in living my days out as a vegetable in intractable pain, with zero quality of life. Been there, done that; it sucks. That’s my personal decision, my right, and I’m going to do what I’m going to do regardless of what any government or other self-appointed moral arbiters think of it.

The problem was (and, until I-1000 or something like it becomes law, still is) that my plans require a minimum amount of mobility, which I could lose at any time. They also require that I either ask my loved ones and care providers to break the law, or, in order to protect them from the law’s wrath, that I exclude them from the most important decision of my life, and a central one in theirs.

I-1000 is not for the terminally ill. For the most part, we’ll find a way to carry out our own wishes. It’s for everyone around us, the people who care for and love us. The current law forces us to act perhaps prematurely (while we have the capacity to personally carry out our decision), without the input of other people, and in an isolated way that is either risky or unspeakably cruel to our loved ones. The people who’ve cared for me over the years, starting with my loving and preternaturally patient wife, deserve far better than that. They’ll have a hard enough time with my illness and passing; intentionally excluding them from my death is something no compassionate society should countenance. I-1000 is for them.

The punch line to my story is that I finally did get my transplants, and they’ve been fabulously successful. I have chronic health problems (due to both the underlying disease and the immunosuppressant drugs needed to prevent organ rejection). I’m in pain daily, take preposterous amounts of medication, and once or twice a year I’m in the hospital with something scary. But I’ve mostly had good quality of life for the last 14 years and been a productive member of society. (Not everyone would agree with that last part, but, whatever.) I’m pretty stubborn about this Continuing To Live thing.

However, the reason I-1000 is not only deeply personal but immediate for me is that those 14 years are many more than any of my doctors, or I, expected. At some point — could be tomorrow, could be many years away, but it was supposed to happen a long time ago — one or both of my non-native organs will start to fail. Then, I’ll be right back where I was in 1991, only a couple of decades older and frailer. At some point I could easily reach the position where things are both intolerable and clearly have no hope of getting better.

By then, I hope I-1000 will be law, so that I won’t be asked to put my loved ones and friends through a living hell in order to die on my own terms.

Do right by my loved ones. Their fate is up to you, as voters, in November. My decision, as to what I’ll choose to do with my failing body, is not.

Comments

  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    If Republicans are really against assisted suicide, they wouldn’t let anyone enlist in the military when a Republican is president.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Hey Geov, didn’t you write an article about your personal experiences in the Seattle Weekly some years back? Someone did. Got sick from bad water in Mexico, or something like that. I remember reading it, back when I still read the SW before the fascists took it over and canned the old SW crowd. Probably the most moving and impressive story SW ever published. No hope they’ll ever come close to doing journalism like that again, now that it’s a fascist rag.

  3. 7

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Geov–
    I have never walked in your shoes but do have a question…
    During your illness, did you ever consider the precious sanctity of innocent life??
    My father died of emphysema..
    It is an awful, progressively worsening disease. My brother, sister & I all prayed for his struggles to be over. My Mom had 100% faith the Lord would take my dad at the appropriate time. She totally trusted God despite being his care-taker for many years. I watched her faithfully care for him, deal with one crisis after another. If anyone would have benefitted from his earlier death, it would have been my mom.
    That was 11 years ago.
    She is still alive & well…..and has zero regrets about the sacrifices she made. She trusts the Lord in all things.

  4. 8

    YLB spews:

    8 – Wow Cynical what a righteous dude you are!

    So righteous you forgot to call Geov a LEFTIST PINHEAD KLOWN and put in a plug for that other lover of civil liberties, Dino Rossi.

    Thanks for the post Geov, I’m voting YES on I-1000.

  5. 9

    YLB spews:

    Right wing idiot @ 7

    You are misusing another commenter’s handle. I know it’s off by one digit but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re a right wing putz.

    Right wing idiot would be an appropriate handle.

  6. 10

    G. in Maple Valley spews:

    Geov, I agree. Individuals should have the right to choose. Those who object to it, for whatever reason, don’t have to exercise that option.

  7. 12

    abject funk spews:

    @8, I mean this respectfully, but perhaps your father would have benefited from an earlier death as well?

    I do not believe in God, and have nothing but respect for those (like your Mom) who do. But I think Geov’s point is that the choice is both personal to the one making it, and also should be sharable with your loved ones without fear of legal sanction.

    Clearly, your Mom’s situation creates a possible conflict between dying spouse and caring spouse, but it seems like a decision to be worked out by adults in love with each other, no, instead of flat-out against the law.

    In any event, submitted with the utmost respect, just wanted to draw out a few issues.

  8. 13

    Rick D. spews:

    “When and if I kill myself, since it doesn’t harm them (and since we live in a secular society), it is, also, none of their fucking business.

    First of all, we dont’ have a secular society, we have a secular government. You may want to stick your head in the HA sand and hope it isn’t so, but you’d be mistaken.

    Second, the fears of this kind of measure are certainly real. Admittedly though, I’m a Libertarian of sorts and see this as a personal choice. Just don’t be a fuckhead and take someone out with you along the way is my only qualifier.

  9. 14

    delbert spews:

    Geov-

    I believe that you have the right to decide when it’s your time to go, without interference from the State.

    I just want that same consideration when it comes to other things about _my_ life. I’m pro-gun and think abortion should be legal. (I’d like to see abortions minimized as I think they are a poor choice, adoptions are cool.) I think seatbelts are a wonderful safety device, I think it sucks for the state require me to wear one. Ditto forced recycling, plastic bag bans, and helmet laws. All good ideas, ruined when required by government.

    When you do go, I’ll be a bit sad. You seem like a rational guy. We disagree on quite a bit, but you tend to be intellectually honest in your positions.

  10. 15

    westcoast spews:

    I am so sorry for your illness. My husband has kidney disease and we will be facing all therelated issues one day. What I really don’t understand is if you are so intent on killing yourself, why do you need a law passed to approve it? You speak like you don’t need anyone’s approval to do what you want. And why do you need to compel doctors, whose primary obligation is to heal, to be complicit with you in taking your life? If you want to, I can’t stop you. But I can’t let you force others to help you with this misguided law.

  11. 16

    JW spews:

    Geov: I am sorry lthat you are having a rough time with your health. I personally know someone in the same predicament you are in. Actually his situation is worse because his kidney failed after the transplant from his brother. It is a very sad situation.

    Your insinuation that the only people against I-1000, Death with Dignity Act, also known as “Assisted Suicide” are incorrect. In fact, the very liberal non-religious Governor Gregoire is against this initiative as well as many other liberal folks — Democrats and Republicans alike.

    I think you have this initiative mixed up with euthanasia. You make it sound like the doctors are going to do the killing or the injecting of the medication which is not true. In fact, a physician, not necessarily your physician, only perscribes an overdose of barbiturates which YOU the patient and no one else take. So you are committing suicide whether you think you are or not. Making something a legal does not make it morally right. So your family will still see you commit an immoral act regardless.

    One does not need a law that says one could overdose on pain medication. The patient has access to as many different types of medication as they please if they are deathly ill. If they feel the pain is more than they can bear, and they don’t see suicide as immoral issue, then they could easily accomplish the same task without a new law that would require tax-payers money to manage it!

    Why pass an unneccessary law that would only give healthcare insurances an excuse to not pay for health treatments and offer us suicide instead?!? Ask the two cancer patients whose Oregon Health Care turned down for cancer treatments. Instead of something that could save their lives, they were offered the “death with dignity” coverage.

    Everyone has a choice to live or die. I would hope that people would value life enough to grasp it with all their might. But, if they don’t, they certainly cannot be stopped from taking their own lives. VOTE NO ON INITIATIVE 1000!

  12. 17

    PAUL spews:

    powerful and compelling writing – the best this site has EVER seen, by far

    as a survivor of the worst years of the AIDS epidemic I saw many friends die by suicide – it is never mentioned in the annals of what happened, but it is true. I helped several..

    I am not a church type at all, but, still fear abuse and a change of condition and decision and outside pressure.

    good luck and the best to you Geov. keep writing the heavy stuff, you are good, very good.

  13. 18

    spews:

    Thank you all (well, most of you!) for your kind words. And my best wishes to each of you (online or off) who’ve shared your own health stories.

    Let me assure everyone that my firm intent is to stick around a good long time — supposing my body cooperates. But the chances are fairly substantial that it won’t.

    Briefly:

    @8 Cynical: I am not Christian, but I do believe in the sanctity of life. (And yes, I’m personally anti-abortion, but don’t believe it’s the state’s place to interfere on that issue, either.) However, we’re all going to die some day (hopefully later than sooner); this is simply about reserving the right to meet that fate on my own terms and those of my family rather than endangering loved ones.

    @15 delbert: I largely agree. I have a pretty strong libertarian streak.

    @17 JW: With respect, I think you’re the one confused. I-1000 is designed as an option specifically for unequivocally terminally ill people who no longer are sufficiently ambulatory to procure drugs or other means of easing their passing; it offers a safe way for them to carry out their own wishes without putting their care givers at risk should those care givers help. I-1000 specifies a self-administered procedure, so it’s obviously not euthenasia. Moreover, there are plenty of safeguards against people being coerced into their decision; despite alarmist fears over that possibility when Oregon passed its law, in ten years on the books now it simply hasn’t happened.

    @18 Paul – I also lost many friends (and, frankly, it’s a miracle I wasn’t among them) during the peak AIDS years. I think that era left a profound impression on all who survived it. So many lost lives.

  14. 19

    proud leftist spews:

    Excellent post. As someone who had to decide with my father and siblings whether to pull the plug on my mother (in Idaho, which prohibited what her doctor thankfully did), I have some understanding of the pain that the concept of “assisted suicide” provokes. It is the most private and personal decisions, a family matter in which the government should never involve itself. And, by the way, Cynical, we are a very Christian family. Prolonging “life,” regardless of the pain involved to everyone and regardless of the quality of the life prolonged, is not Christian. Perhaps, if you are familiar with the Gospels, you would recall that Christ had options to hanging on the cross. Given that he willingly got himself hung, wouldn’t you say he committed suicide?

  15. 20

    SeattleJew spews:

    Geov,

    Thank you for another deeply moving post.

    My first inclination on hearing about I-1000 was the same as yours. I believe in the right to choose ones death.

    However, I also think this is a badly written law that may actually decrease the ability people have now to get help with death.

    1. It adds a significant bureaucracy to a situation, terminal illness, that is already quite hard.

    2. It asks physicians to make moral decisions that really should be up to a patient and their families.

    3. It provides an incentive for HMOs to encourage early death.

    4. As written it may make current palliative procedures. e.g. letting a patient control his own morphine, illegal.

    I will write more when I have more time but for now, I would hope we can get better legislation to do exactly what YOU want.

  16. 21

    busdrivermike spews:

    I love how people think this will only happen to someone else. That is the great illusion/power of religion…..everlasting life. Just as long as you spend that life following someone else’s(funny how they are always the powerful) “golden rules”.

    But the fact is medical technology is advancing at an exponential rate. Along with the costs. To cover these costs, everyone, including you, dear reader, must pay with a long, slow, COSTLY, death.

    Have you noticed how there is no cure for most diseases any more? But there are more and more long term treatments for anything that ails you.

    That is due to the fact that if they cure you, the “income stream” stops. But if they treat you, it goes on until you die. The slower you die, the more money the system makes. The more money the system makes, the more treatments become available.

    So, unless you have sudden cardiac arrest, get in a car accident, or meet the business end of a bullet, guess how almost all of us will die?
    You may think this issue is not YOUR problem, but that is simply denial.

    Now tell me how the “free market” solves all ills, Mr. Republican.

  17. 22

    sparky spews:

    Wow..this makes me appreciate even more your activism and your contributions everywhere.
    Take good care of yourself.

  18. 23

    A Friend spews:

    Geov,

    I’ve read of one survey showing that in Oregon the general dissatisfaction with terminal care doubled following passage of their law (I think up from 10 to 20 percent). Translation, the law leads to increased pain for the many who have a basic moral objection to suicide. The law DOES affect others. The law increases pain for the many. To decline extraordinary means of survival is categorically different than actively taking one’s life. My wife was taken by cancer after eleven years of every treatment there is, but would NEVER have consented to suicide. And, she was alergic to (could not take) morphine, etc. We prayed for a path and a graceful path was given. In our experience, looking too far ahead can be a blindness. One day at a time, and take time to smell the roses.

  19. 24

    Puddybud spews:

    Wow Geov, That’s an interesting story. Stay healthy so those kidneys stay working… Godspeed and I hope you live for another 70 years.

    Mathematics for yelling loser boy; that’s 5 x 14.

    See ya.

  20. 25

    passionatejus spews:

    @24, @8

    What about those of us that don’t pray? Please stop talking as if we all believe in your God, or any God for that matter. A lot of us don’t. And we don’t need your churches dictating our laws.

    Geov, I’ll be voting for the measure. I also want to phonebank before the election. Do you have any contact info for the campaign?

    Thanks

  21. 26

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    I have no problem supporting I-1000. I will vote for it in November. We should have had this law decades earlier.

  22. 27

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @5 Well, Geov, even if you don’t believe in the Great Mother Rabbit Spirit I’ll put you in my prayers anyway.

  23. 28

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @7 I trust the Great Mother Rabbit Spirit in all things. I trust the Republicans with nothing.

  24. 29

    A fellow sufferer spews:

    My heart goes out to you, Geov. Glad you’re “stubborn about this Continuing-to-Live thing” too.

    I-1000 has the shallow appearance of helping you and “everyone around you,” but instead endangers the great majority of folks who become terminally ill.

    Geov described how his insurance company delayed covering his treatment, holding out until he almost died. It will be a hundred times more dangerous when companies can offer the cheap option of lethal prescriptions while withholding expensive medical care near the end of life. The Oregon law nearly identical to I-1000 was written by an HMO executive!

    The families of vulnerable patients would encourage the medical death option, to expedite an inheritance before it’s all “wasted” on health care, or so the family can move on, rather than have to keep visiting or taking care of a sick old person. Under I-1000 there is no requirement that an assisted suicide be witnessed, opening wide the potential for coercion or secretly forced administration of the drug by a beneficiary. Just dissolve it in their Ensure. There’s no protection for the vulnerable after a prescription is written.

    Among those requesting assisted suicide it stands to reason there will be some temporarily despondent patients. Depression is one of the stages of dying, and a natural response to devastating news, right? But
    I-1000 has no requirement for psychological evaluation! Oregon has the same law right now, and not one patient of the 50 reported there who received lethal prescriptions in 2007 was referred for a psych eval. Now we see somebody reaching for a noose, and we help them put it over their head and kick the chair?

    Check out the video on Not Dead Yet Washington: http://noassistedsuicide.blogspot.com

  25. 30

    Broadway Joe spews:

    Wow. And I thought my wife was in a bad situation. Glad you made it this far, Geov.

    Cyn:
    I watched my grandfather die from emphysema when I was little (he died on my seventh birthday – I like to joke that he’d just faceplanted in his slice of birthday cake, but of course it was so much worse than that – in all the ways that mattered he’d died nearly a year earlier). My grandmother nursed him until the very end, and never really recovered from it herself. Of my grandparents and step-grandparents, two grandmothers died suffering from Alzheimer’s (and the step-grandmother is living with it), so that makes four that could’ve been spared the suffering. My father’s side of my family still gives me grief to this day over the fact that I couldn’t bring myself to visit my grandmother in the nursing home.

    ——————

    That’s why I’d vote yes for any DWD measure, no matter what state I live in, because of the pain and suffering terminal illnesses can bring to more than just the patient. And if I was the one with such a condition, with no hope for cure or treatment, believe you me, I’m goin’ out in style. Something like say, bungee-jumping off the Space Needle without the cord, or run on to the court during a Oklahoma City Thunder game and light myself on fire…….

  26. 32

    spews:

    Goldy has it backwards, as usual.

    “Death With Dignity” already happens, every day, and the government never does anything about it. There needs to be no government sanction of it, if you want it.

    So when he says “There’s a pretty fair chance that at some point, I’m going to kill myself. And when I do, it’s none of the government’s fucking business,” what he really means is “I want to get the government involved.”

    If you really believe it is none of the government’s business, you’ll vote AGAINST I-1000.

  27. 33

    Gentle Reader spews:

    27 – Thank you, Marvin. Your comment spells out the conservative position more clearly than I ever could. I do not say that the position is consistent, logical, or morally sound; but there it is: loud and clear.

    I’m with Geov all the way. Have a how-to book stashed away….my problem is disposition of the corpse, but I think I have a plan

  28. 34

    spews:

    Hi Geov. Ditto.

    I had a bone marrow transplant. I’m not doing that again. I’ll handle quite a bit, as you have done. But there are limits.

    I made a bunch of friends through the hospital. I’ve seen what cancer and late stage AIDS (pre triple cocktail) does. I’ve held their hands.

    I’m deeply offended that others would tell me how to live my life, including how to end it when the time is right.

    Yes on I-1000.

    All the best.

    Cheers, Jason Osgood

  29. 36

    Carl Grossman spews:

    George,

    A few months ago you took the time to send me a link to the SW article you wrote. This was after I mentioned that I was personally conflicted with the idea of a heart transplant. (For those that are new here or just don’t know: I have cardiomyopathy, dilated. It is more commonly referred to as congestive heart disease and someday a new heart is on my list of things to do).

    The information that you sent went a long way towards helping me come around to the idea that it would be alright to accept a donor heart and not be so focused on the “it is just like hoping someone dies so I can live” thoughts. It also motivated me to become active in the transplant awareness arena. Thank you for that.

    I have had the “conversation” with my son. A conversation no man should have with his son. But there is no one else for me to trust with this kind of decision, action and understanding of my desire not to live a life without quality, should I need some assistance. One right I will not give up is that I get to decide what is the quality of my life. Period.

    If and when the day comes, it would be much healthier if a doctor, a counselor and my family all gathered round and had a clear understanding of what and why. No laws broken, no guilt to deal with later and no shame. I would leave with my dignity intact and the knowledge that I lived my life my way and left on the same terms.

    How can that be wrong?

    Carl Grossman

  30. 37

    Carl Grossman spews:

    Cyniclown,

    You are a self righteous individual with nothing to add here but a conscience stream of hate and self aggrandizement.

    How dare you inject your belief system on me, Geov or anyone else.

    I am sorry that your father suffered so. I wonder what his thoughts were? I wonder if your mothers “faith” matched his in those final weeks or months? Seems to me your mom’s “faith” might have been selfish. She did not want to lose her mate (no one does) and I think her actions may have been selfish. She may have had him endure more suffering to postpone her own when he passed.

    Notice no “statements of fact”. Just forwarding a different point of view. You are free to believe what you want.

    That does not make you right.

  31. 38

    Good Seattle Prog-Lib spews:

    i’ve been suspicious of i-1000 because joel connelly is against it and like all good seattle liberals i check in with joel before making any decisions. but based upon your account here, i am going to buck joel’s opinion and vote yes on i-1000.

  32. 39

    YLB spews:

    Goldy has it backwards, as usual.

    Uh, pudge, Geov is the author of the post.

    I think your knee-jerk animus towards Goldy has made you a bit uh stupid.

  33. 40

    Milo spews:

    My great uncle commited suicide many years ago…his wife was unable to collect on his insurance policy becuz of that..Where are life insurance co.s on this? Geov, thanks for sharing your story..I hope you continue the fight for many years to come.

  34. 41

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    I think your knee-jerk animus towards Goldy has made you a bit uh stupid.

    Ya think? Pudge on the brain.

    In addition, @16: Christine Gregoire is Catholic. Please make a note of it.

  35. 42

    A fellow sufferer spews:

    As a fellow sufferer my heart goes out to you, Geov. Glad you’re “stubborn about this Continuing-to-Live thing” too.

    I-1000 has the shallow appearance of helping you and “everyone around you,” but instead endangers the great majority of folks who become terminally ill.

    Geov described how his profit-driven insurance company delayed covering his treatment, holding out until he almost died. It will be a hundred times more dangerous when companies can offer the cheap option of lethal prescriptions while withholding expensive medical care near the end of life. The Oregon law which is the model for I-1000 was written by an HMO executive!

    The families of vulnerable patients would encourage the medical death option, to expedite an inheritance before it’s all “wasted” on health care, or so the family can move on, rather than have to keep visiting or taking care of a sick old person. Under I-1000 there is no requirement that an assisted suicide be witnessed, opening wide the potential for coercion or secretly forced administration of the drug by a beneficiary. Just dissolve it in their Ensure. There’s no protection for the vulnerable after a prescription is written.

    Among those requesting assisted suicide it stands to reason there will be some temporarily despondent patients. Depression is one of the stages of dying, and a natural response to devastating news, right? But I-1000 has no requirement for psychological evaluation! Oregon has the same law right now, and not one patient of the 50 reported there who received lethal prescriptions in 2007 was referred for a psych eval. Now we see somebody reaching for a noose, and we help them put it over their head and kick the chair?

    Check out the video on Not Dead Yet Washington:

    noassistedsuicide (DOT) blogspot (DOT) com

  36. 43

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    25. passionatejus spews:
    “What about those of us that don’t pray? Please stop talking as if we all believe in your God, or any God for that matter. A lot of us don’t. And we don’t need your churches dictating our laws.”

    The angriest, most bound up people I know are those who reject God.
    I grew up in a Christian household. My grandparents, great-grandparents and down the line were very devout believers.

    If Atheism works for you, that is certainly your choice. The sanctity of life related issues are an important societal issue. We take positions on this and other issues based on our background & knowledge base. I certainly do not expect an Athiest like you to have the same beliefs as I do.

    The issue is about what is best for us collectively as a civilized society. Anything goes is the opinion of the Atheist Left. Fine. But I think that is a minority opinion. Society has plenty of laws rules I disagree with. Does that mean I should pick & choose what I should follow?

    This is a good discussion Geov.
    Like many issues, it comes down to spiritual, core beliefs. I’m not ready to set my aside just because Atheists have twisted Church-State seperation. Not now…or ever. Christians have free speech rights too. That trumps a bastardized seperation argument.

  37. 44

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    33. Gentle Reader spews:
    27 – Thank you, Marvin

      
    It wasn’t the real me. Just one of the many people that have nothing better to offer than use my name.
      
    It’s rather flattering when you think about it.

  38. 45

    Gentle Reader spews:

    The world is full of weirdness to say nothing of weirdos who masquerade under your name, Marvin. Still, you must admit it was a magnificent statement of a conservative
    Republican position. I shall cherish it.

  39. 46

    SeattleJew spews:

    Continuing and responding …

    I-1000 may cost the termnally ill choices they NOW have.

    Many of the decisions made by family, the patient and the physicians during terminal care have to balance prolonging life vs the pain and suffering that is occurring. In effect this means that physicians already have the legal right to help a patient deal with her illness even if that help hastens death.

    This sort of thing goes on every day. Existing review mechanisms provide cautious oversight of the process already and, to the best of my knowledge, there is no evidence of abuse.

    While no one has yet made an issue, under the Oregon law one could imagine prosecuting a physician who provided this sort of help without going through the business of getting a second consult or getting the oponion of a psychologist.

    So, I will not vote for I-1000 because I fear it will add more bureaucracy to the already hard enough process of dying.


    A second reason that this is, IMO, bad law is that give the HMOs a convenient way to cut costs … by encouraging suicide.

    Under this law, care providers are in a conflict of interest. They can save money by encouraging death!

    A common theme of those who want I-1000 is that they do not want to bankrupt themselves or their families with useless terminal care. This is a very real, very rational alrgument. BUT follow it out … in an HMO you pay not per procedure but for your care. Under I-1000, there is an incentive to promote suicide.

    I suggest that there are much better ways of improving terminal care, eg health care that guarantees fairness to all.

  40. 47

    abc123 spews:

    @42 –

    A fellow sufferer: Thank you for high-lighting some of the loopholes in I-1000. I wanted to point out that the law, as written, also does not require the physician to record the cause of death as “physician-assisted suicide.” Instead, the doctor can record the cause of death as the illness the person was sick with, such as “cancer.” This makes it difficult to track the cases of physician-assisted suicide to see if they were carried out without any abuses.

  41. 48

    SeattleJew spews:

    @47

    Instead, the doctor can record the cause of death as the illness the person was sick with, such as “cancer.” This makes it difficult to track the cases of physician-assisted suicide to see if they were carried out without any abuses.

    I agree, the state should not muck with the definition of the cause of death. This term is critical to the way public health policy and disease survival stats are produced.

    For example, suppose an HMO shows a constant rate of death form melanoma, btu costs per death go down because of I-1000. How would you find this out from a records search?

  42. 49

    Atheist spews:

    Under no circumstances should any stranger such as Cynical be able to enforce his version of morality on others when it comes time to decide end of life issues.

    I watched my mother suffer until the end with emphysema. My brother nursed her. Every hour she needed the phlegm pumped out of her lungs so she didn’t drown. She finally became too exhausted to continue breathing after many months. She begged my brother to shoot her.

    And fuckers like Cynical want to keep her and others like her suffering so they can feel morally superior.

    FUCK YOU CYNICAL and all other religious nutjobs! This atheist hopes you suffer a long an painful end of life, begging for someone to end it and no one coming along.

    The most messed up people, closeted gays, drug freaks and others I have met have been people screwed up by religion whether it is trying to pray them out or being gay or other nonsense. The most evil people I have known were believers. Hitler was a Christian. You fuckers have NO right to impose your morality on people who don’t believe in myths and mysticism.

  43. 50

    Atheist spews:

    The issue is about what is best for us collectively as a civilized society. Anything goes is the opinion of the Atheist Left. Fine. But I think that is a minority opinion. Society has plenty of laws rules I disagree with. Does that mean I should pick & choose what I should follow?

    BULLSHIT! The law is in place to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. Just because there are more white people in the US, should they be able to vote that blacks should be slaves?

    Keep your damn religious nose out of other people’s business. You religious fucks are already screwed up enough that you should deal with the log in your own eye before the spec in your neighbors. Your clergy is fucking altar boys in the ass and all you stupid fucks can think to do is point at others and dictate to them how they should be. You ignorant bastards.

  44. 51

    Atheist spews:

    I am fortunately in good health. But if I ever end up in a situation where I am in need of end of life services, and if the same status quo prevails, I am gonna look for some self righteous bastards like Cynical and they are going out with me. Fuck em!

    Now if that isn’t a reason for you believing types to get out the rosary beads and pray for my soul, I don’t know what is.

  45. 52

    Carrie spews:

    Geov,

    My grandmother died of kidney failure, and it was not a fun trip. She lived with us throughout my high school years, and I remember those years being some of the most difficult and important in my life. I remember going with her to her dialysis appointments and caring for her at home when she switched methods of dialysis. (Can’t remember which is hemo-dialysis and which is peritoneal dialysis)

    I wouldn’t trade those years with her for anything.

    It offered our family the opportunity to care for a woman who had given us so much throughout our whole lives. To be sure, it was a humiliating experience for her to have to rely on her family to care for her; but what better way for us to show her that we loved her? Her pain was managaged by our brilliant medical advances that make it possible. If she had chosen to end her life early by a drug overdose, I would have missed out on what was an extremely formative time for me. What’s more, if I-1000 had been law, she could have done it all without telling any of us; therefore denying us the opportunity of loving her and caring for her. Because we had the chance to care for her until the end, it made her death easier to bear and gave us all closure that suicide could never have provided.

    I oppose I-1000 for those families who want the opportunity to love their loved ones instead of offering them a drug overdose. Pain and discomfort can be managed – it’s called palliative care – one area of medicine which has seen tremendous advancements in the last decade.

    It’s interesting: proponents of I-1000 always cite “pain and suffering” at the end of life as the reason that they support Assisted Suicide. However, the vast majority of people who favor this law do so not because of pain, but because of not wanting to lose their autonomy or their mobility. What does this say to the disabled in our communities – that we see their lives as less than worthy of living?

    I will be voting against I-1000. Washington does not need I-1000. We do not need I-1000.

  46. 53

    Andrew spews:

    @19
    Pulling the plug is not the same as giving somebody a pill that will kill them. Obviously, since people pull the plug all the time, its legal and nobody is going to try and take that away from you or anyone else. Only misguided Christians and a minority at that are saying that we need to prolong life as long as possible. Your argument is called a “straw man.”

    @20
    Excellent points.

    @34
    I don’t think that many people (like me) who plan to vote no on I 1000 would tell you that you have to agree to a procedure (like a bone marrow transplant) that would be overly burdensome for your. I have not heard any religious people say that you should have to. In fact, the Catholic Church (which I bring up only due to recent statements made by I-1000 supporters) has taught quite clearly for centuries that patients have the right to say ‘no’ to any treatment they feel is repulsive or overly burdensome.

    @36
    Your life has, and always will have, “Quality.” In fact, even if you were bed ridden the rest of your life, there would still be much you could offer your family. I would say that it could be “wrong” because you could be putting your family in a situation where they have to do something that goes against their conscience and they might have to spend the rest of their lives regretting what they did. It has happened. Take for example the famous case of Nancy Cruzan, whose feeding tube was removed in a situation that conflicted with the conscience of her father… he wound up killing himself a few years later.

  47. 54

    Andrew spews:

    Geov,

    Your story is quite moving, and unfortunately it is all too familiar in Washington. There is a scandal in the State of Washington, and it is that many patients are suffering a great deal when the means to treat their pain -physical and mental- exist. Unfortunately, many patients are not receiving the proper pain management.

    Terminally ill patients request suicide for the same reasons non-terminally ill patients do. They are in emotional and/or physical pain. Studies repeatedly show that when their emotional and physical pain is treated properly, patients stop requesting suicide. If I-1000 passes, and the suicide pill is seen as a legitimate treatment of pain, the likelihood that their pain will be treated properly through non-lethal ways is going to drop. Many will request death while in a state of emotional despair when in fact their pain can -and should be- treated effectively.

  48. 55

    Andrew spews:

    Oh, and why is this always a religious issue? The arguments against I-1000 I have read don’t mention God at all. They are all based exclusively on Reason and compassion for those dying.

  49. 56

    atheist spews:

    @53,

    Carrie you selfish little bitch. You ignored your grandmother’s wish and kept her in a torturous condition just for your own selfish benefit!

  50. 57

    James spews:

    by Geov, 09/08/2008, 6:00 PM

    There’s a pretty fair chance that at some point, I’m going to kill myself.

    And when I do, it’s none of the government’s fucking business.

    I don’t endorse this or Abortion however, Geov, seems to me if you want to end your life do you really need a law saying ok do it.
    Drug addicts,Abortionist and boozers do it everyday you can find a way too.

  51. 58

    atheist spews:

    All the fuckers writing about caring so much for the disabled and such are the very first motherfuckers cutting those god damn programs!

    ANd this isn’t about disabled people.

    Don’t let the liars like Andrew and Carrie try to tell you it is about disabled people. It is about people who are going to die soon as signed off by several doctors.