Vermont Enacted Death With Dignity Law

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Some reading this will be very pleased and some horrified. I am very pleased about it. Vermont enacted Death With Dignity law, otherwise named, Physician assisted death. This took a decade of hard work and dedication to make this happen and I thank everyone who helped with this cause.

Governor Peter Shumlin signed the bill into law May 20, 2013. The bill grants Doctors civil and criminal immunity if they follow a series of required steps before prescribing the lethal dose. They must first prove the patient is capable of making the decision with sound mind and they are able to self administer the lethal dose.

Governor Peter Shumlin said, “This bill does not compel anyone to do anything that they don’t choose in sound mind to do. All it does is give those who are facing terminal illness, are facing excruciating pain, a choice in a very carefully regulated way.”

I hope this will speed up other States to pass this bill so all people will have this choice. I am in no way ready to die and don’t foresee it in the near future, but I do have a terminal illness and there will very likely come a time that my illness diminishes my quality of life to the point that being forced to live is unbearable. Yes, I said forced to live. This is my life and my body. When my body has failed me to the point of constant pain and I must count on others to take care of all daily life activities including bathing and toileting, I believe I should have the choice to end it, or not. I may reach the end stages of my illness, ALS, and want to carry on as long as possible. The most important thing about this law to me is knowing there is a choice, an option.

A person dying may hang on as long as possible for the family. Sometimes all it takes is a loved one telling them it’s OK to let go and the person dies shortly after. Would you ever accuse that person of murdering their loved one. Do you think they should tell them they better hold on as long as possible or they will never forgive them. Do you think they should do what the majority does and let nature take it’s course no matter how painful that may be, even with the best help?

I think it should be up to the dying person. Some want to fight inevitable death to the bitter, painful end. Nobody ever thinks It’s great they have that choice because it’s not seen as a choice. It’s a right. I strongly believe a person dying should also have the right to stop fighting and end their life peacefully surrounded by loved ones if they so choose.

I also believe most people are against this law out of fear. Some fear the poor or elderly will be taken advantage of. Some may have fear for religious reasons. They may see it as a suicide that their God would condemn. I believe the more people learn how this law works, the more they will want this law enacted in their state. Hopefully the people with religious fears will be able to understand this is not a suicide. There is nothing to fear. If the the person making the choice to end their suffering shows no fear, then I believe you should show respect in that regard.

I can continue on with my opinions and views about this sensitive topic, but I think it will be more helpful for you to read it from the experts, the people at the front line, and see the data from each state with this law. Please take a little time to read this information with an open mind. Many lives truly depend on your support. At some point, maybe even your own.

http://www.deathwithdignity.org/acts

http://www.deathwithdignity.org/2013/04/12/new-england-journal-medicine-looks-washingtons-death-dignity-act

http://public.health.oregon.gov/ProviderPartnerResources/EvaluationResearch/DeathwithDignityAct/Pages/index.aspx

Until next time, take care,

April

 


 

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April

This article was written by April

2 comments:

Melissa-Death with Dignity National CtrJune 18, 2013 at 2:27 pmReply

Thank you so much, April, for your eloquent article about Vermont’s new law and why all states should have Death with Dignity laws. Your well written post was from the heart and I greatly appreciate your passion for this sometimes challenging topic.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts about these important laws with your readers!

Best,
Melissa
—————————-
Melissa Barber
Electronic Communications Specialist
Death with Dignity National Center

April AprilJune 18, 2013 at 3:47 pmReply

Thank you, Melissa, for your dedication to this cause. I know you’ve helped many people understand the process and put many families at ease during a very difficult time. I wish I could do more. Fear because of misinformation is a large obstacle in this. Vermont is a new beginning in helping people become informed and you play a large roll in that.

Thank you for all you do!

Take care,

April

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