.. she wanted to do was go home and be with her family. She no further questions about the treatment and in fact had decided that she wanted none .. “(111). Quill stated “I have been a longtime advocate of active informed patient choice of treatment or nontreatment, and of a patient’s right to die with as much control and dignity as possible”(111).
Quill was confused that Diane wanted to give up her twenty five percent chance of living after she fought to overcome alcoholism and depression. He knew that she would have to change her mind, soon (111). Quill pointed out “it was extraordinarily important to Diane to maintain control of herself and her own dignity during the time remaining to her”(111). Diane clearly told Quill that she wanted to die. Quill used to be head of a hospice program, he knows how to keep people from suffering using different medications, but Diane did not care.
She wanted to die in the easiest and least painful way. Quill expressed that “I felt the effects of a violent death .. an ineffective suicide .. the possibility that a family member would be forced to assist her [then] the legal and repercussions that would follow”(112). Diane continually informed her family with her choices and her family supported her on all her decisions.
The Hemlock Society discussed any an all the problems she faced. Diane called Quill seven days later asking for sleeping pills. Quill knew this is what the Hemlock Society encouraged and wanted to discuss this over with Diane again. “She was having trouble sleeping .. I made sure that she knew how to use the barbiturates for sleep, and also that she knew the amount needed to commit suicide” Quill cautioned (112).
They promised each other they would see each other on a basis and before she took the pills (112-113). The months ahead were very strenuous. Her son and husband did everything at home to spend as much time with her as they could. Also, Diane’s best friends stopped by when they could (113). Quill confirmed “bone pain, weakness, fatigue, and fevers began to dominate her life ..
it was clear that the end was approaching”(114). Diane phoned all her friends to ask them to visit her and say their ‘good byes.’ She came to my office one last time “it was clear the she knew what she was doing, that she was sad and frightened to be leaving, but that she would be even more terrified to stay and suffer”(114) Quill enforced. A couple days later Diane’s husband phoned me and said Diane passed away. She told her son and husband goodbye and leave her alone, an hour later she was dead lying in her favorite blanket. Quill called the medical examiner and told him Diane died of ‘acute leukemia’ (114).
Quill indicates that “I said ‘acute leukemia’ to protect all of us, to protect Diane from invasion into her past and her body, and to continue to shield society for the knowledge of the degree of suffering that people often undergo in the process of dying”(115). Quill concludes by praising that: Diane taught me about the range of help I can provide if I know people well and if I allow them to say what they really want .. about life, death, and honesty and about taking charge and facing tragedy squarely when it strikes .. that I can take small risks for people that I really know and care about. Although I did not assist her in suicide directly, I helped indirectly to make it possible, successful, and relatively painless.
Although I know we have measures to help control pain and lessen suffering, to think that people do not suffer in the process of dying is an illusion (115). Betty Rollin, an employee at NBC News, wrote Last Wish, a book about her mother’s death, which this article goes back and tells the story of how she help assist-suicide upon her mother. “Next to the happiness of my children, I want to die more than anything else in the world” my mother’s words [spoke] to me one late fall afternoon to convince me that she really meant it: She wanted to die, and would I please help”(241). Rollin reveals that “[they] did research [and] found out what it would take for her to die ‘safely’ (241). Rollins mothers doctor wrote her out a prescription that would end her life quickly and peacefully.
Rollin misses her very much and even if she runs through her mind a tear will develop in her eye every time. Rollin does not display any pictures of her mother because she breaks down every time she sees her mothers profile. The life her mother was living was terrible. It was like she was in a room with no windows or doors, when she died it was like she got out of the room, and she was happy to get out. Rollin and her husband were happy, also (241-42).
Rollin wrote a book about her mother the Last Wish, which was made into a television movie. She has received many letters that agreed with her and some that did not. The letters that did not agree with her, people wrote “death by any person’s hand is killing a life god created” (242). Rollin pleads “but I still remember my mother’s own view. ‘God gave me a brain .. and I’m glad its still working so that I can die the want I want to”(242).
A young geriatric nurse wrote “I believe its doctors who cannot deal with death. They put the feeding tube in and walk away feeling like heroes. They don’t want to know that the patient can’t talk, can’t move, can’t do anything for herself. I’ve had patients beg me to help them die. I support euthanasia.
Talk to nurses in geriatrics. They know the truth”(242-43). The nurse conclude by saying ‘they know the truth,’ what she means by this is people who are suffering and dying, want to die. But they cannot die unless they have a little help (243). Rollin reveals that “I do not think family members should be the ones to help a desperate person die. It happened to work out in my family .. instead we urgently need is a law that would allow physicians to carry out the wishes of a dying person” (243).
Assisted-suicide laws must have regulations. The regulations were passed a year ago in Washington State. More regulations will be submitted in California this November and it will say: “The patient must be mentally competent, must be declared terminally ill by two physicians, and must be able to revoke the decision at any time”(243). Michael White, a lawyer and president of American Against Human Suffering, asked me to join him to speak in front of the American Bar Association (ABA). We tried to the vote of the ABA of physician-assisted suicide.
They revoked our proposal (244). Rollin claims that “there are people dying in hospital beds .. near the end of life, with nothing ahead but pain and terror. They have a right to die, if that’s what they truly want”(244). The people against me talk about god and interfering with God’s creation.
Don’t we interfere when we hook some one up to a respirator to keep then alive, exclaims Rollin (244). Another reason assisted-suicide is good is to take away pain, if dying patients have a choice to end their life they wouldn’t, but knowing they have a choice would put them at ease and when they think it is the right time to end their life they can do so, just like Rollins mother did. Rollins mother took the prescription when she felt most comfortable. Rollins concludes it by saying “times have changed .. but ultimately, I can’t help these people the way I helped my mother. What I can do is join the fight to change the law.
It’s going to be a state-by-state battle, and California is next up. I am totally for physician assisted-suicide. Physicians should respect the wishes of their patients, even when the patient wants to die. Decisions about how to die are personal, private matters that the government should stay out of. Dying patients should have the right to choose a quick, painless death and doctors should be allowed to help them achieve it. Government.