By: Rana Goodman – Political Editor
In the last legislative session, a bill to legalize “Death with Dignity,” - a physician assisted method of taking one’s own life in the case of a terminal illness, never came to the floor for discussion. However, word has it that Senator David Parks will be presenting it once again in the 2017 session.
Under several different names, depending on the state you live in, this type of bill has seen much controversy. It has however now become legal in California and has been in Oregon since 1998 and is slowly creeping across the country.
I have no idea how many of you have had to care for a loved one with a terminal illness, or have had to watch them waste away knowing there was nothing you or the medical community could do to help them any longer. It leaves you with a feeling of such desperate hopelessness.
My father had a form of cancer of his bone marrow and the only thing that kept him going was the steroid Prednisone. His doctor kept trying to wean him off of it, but he would then become very weak and lose so much weight, they put him back on.
As time went on, each day he would beg me to help him out of his pain and suffering. He would grab my hand and say, “if you loved me, you would help me.”
I would look at all the pills lined up at his bedside and just tell him, as softly as I could, “Pa, if you loved me you wouldn’t ask me to.” Even if I could have brought myself to do something, my mother would never have forgiven me.
Eventually, I was able to convince her to let me place him in the Nathan Adelson Hospice. He passed away there peacefully two days later, and my mother never forgave me, although I know it was the right thing to do for my dad.
Over the years, I have wondered if Nevada had allowed “Death with Dignity” would my father have asked his doctor for that option? I believe he would have.
He was such a proud man, cared about his image, his appearance, and who he was that toward the end, he would not allow visitors to see him any longer - not even family, other than my children and grandchildren.
The man we all knew him to be was gone; now this shell of who he had been, was far beyond ready to pass.
When I first read the bill I thought, not only of my father, but also of friends that had died from some of the most painful types of cancer. We all hope and pray that a cure is around the corner, but I couldn’t tell that to my best friend Jenny, who died of brain cancer without having a chance to see her two beautiful grandsons.
I thought of my friend Victor, who, oddly enough owned and operated a cancer clinic and was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He was visiting me and complained of constant heartburn; arriving home they told him it was cancer in the lining of his stomach.
He died six months later. What would Jenny and Victor have thought about such a bill?
What do you think? Should we support such a law?
We would love to hear what you think. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.