By: Rana Goodman/Political Editor
In the last state legislative session, a bill to legalize “Death with Dignity” - a physician assisted procedure of taking one’s own life when terminally ill, never came to the floor for discussion.
Under several different names, this type of bill has seen much controversy. It has however, now become legal in California (but subject to court challenges), in Oregon and is slowly gaining acceptance across the country.
How many of you have had to care for a loved one with a terminal illness? Or perhaps watch them waste away knowing there was nothing you or the medical community could do to help them.
My father had cancer in 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 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 Hospice. He passed away there peacefully two days later. My mother never forgave me for placing him there, although I know it was the right thing to do.
Over the years, I 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. He cared so much about his image and appearance that toward the end, he would not allow visitors to see him any longer - not even family.
When I first read a “Death with Dignity” bill I thought, not only of my father, but also of friends that 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 also want to quickly add that for those who would oppose such a law, I understand and respect your belief and feelings unconditionally. We also know that there is no “right or wrong” position. If ever there would be an issue that should not be political, it is this one.
At this point, Publisher Dan and I would just like to get a sense as to what readers believe. What do you think? Should The Vegas Voice support such a law?
We want to hear what you think. Please feel free to complete the survey and mail to us.