Documentary explores dying with dignity | Letter

Jan 21, 2016

Editor, The Beacon:

I was pleased to see the “Difficult end-of-life discussions can bring peace to patient, family” article on the front page of the Jan. 14 Edmonds Beacon.

I have dealt with the loss of aging parents on both sides of our family, and as a therapist, I am asked to assist clients through many difficult life decisions and emotional complexities.

In addition to the palliative care discussed in the article, I wish to make your readers aware of a beautiful, transformational movie called, “How to Die in Oregon” (available in our local libraries) that deals with the controversial decision of what it means to die with dignity.

This historical documentary is an intimate portrayal of families dealing with this issue in Oregon, the first state to legalize physician-assisted end-of-life in 1994.

Several stories are portrayed, including one involving a man with terminal brain cancer suffering excruciating pain.

Since he lived in the state of Washington, physician-assisted end-of-life was not available to him.

On his deathbed, he asked his wife to promise him that she would do everything in her power to ensure that others would have the end-of-life choice that he did not.

Exhibiting unbelievable dedication, his wife worked tirelessly for years to help ensure that Washington would legalize physician-assisted end-of-life.

She was ultimately successful, and Washington residents now have the same choice available as their Oregon counterparts.

 

Kal Taylor,

Edmonds

 

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