Brittany Maynard dies on November 1st
Over the weekend, Brittany Maynard decided to exercise Oregon’s Death with Dignity Law by consuming lethal drugs that ended her battle with terminal, brain cancer. The 29-year-old made headlines in early October when she revealed that she had decided the day she was going to die, November 1st. Maynard had been diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of the year and was given 6 months to live. After consulting with many doctors she was told that not only was her form of cancer incurable, but it would be extremely painful in the end stages. Maynard said she didn’t want to let the cancer decide which day she’d die.
When I first heard of Maynard’s story it made me revisit my thoughts on suicide. Last year, I posted a response to a Newsweek article written by Tony Dokoupil titled: “Suicide Epidemic.” Since then I’ve received several comments from readers challenging my stance. I wondered if I supported Emily’s choice in this situation, which is physician-assisted-suicide, would I be hypocritical if I continued to believe it was selfish to commit suicide in other situations. I had myself quite the internal debate.
Ultimately, I think there is a difference in these two situations. Emily did not decide to die because she didn’t want to live anymore. She decided to take the lethal drugs because she didn’t want her cancer to consume another portion of her life; to make another choice on her behalf. Her quality of life had diminished, from debilitating seizures to excruciating pain, that she was causing not only pain to herself but to her family. I understand there is a thin line in this debate and that I probably will face fervent comments from readers who think I am a misinformed jerk. While that may very well be true (I don’t think I am), it does not deter the fact that I am entitled to my opinion.
So my questions to you are these:
Do you think suicide can ever be justified or ever be deemed “ok”?
What are your thoughts on physician-assisted-suicide? Does this particular situation make a difference?
Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate