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Derek J Humphry

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Be Careful With Whom You Share Plans
by Derek J Humphry   

Last edited: Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2002

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Derek J Humphry

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Don't talk about any plans you may have for self-deliverance (voluntary euthanasia) from a unbearable terminal illness.

A man in Northern California dying of esophageal cancer decided in March that he wished to hasten his end. He could neither eat nor drink, and was in considerable distress.
Looking at all his options, the man enrolled in hospice, Hemlock’s Caring Friends program, and read both ‘Final Exit’ and its ‘Supplement.’ He decided he could carry out the helium-bag method of self-deliverance on his own.
In the few days before the weekend in which he planned his exit, he became friendly with a hospice nurse and in an unguarded moment mentioned that he planned to die shortly. The nurse reported this intention to her superiors at the hospice headquarters. They immediately contacted the local sheriff with this information, and two deputy sheriffs turned up at the man’s home inquiring about a suicide. They were told there had not been one so they left.
Instead of waiting for the weekend, the 63-year-old man took his life immediately. He died within ten minutes, estimated his daughter, who was present with her mother.
In my experience, most hospice workers are sympathetic to suicide of the dying, and will not interfere. The working rules of many hospices are that the nurse, social worker, or volunteer, stand aside and only help in any way not connected with the deliberate dying.
Until a person is absolutely sure of the response, it is wiser not to mention any planned self-deliverance. Perhaps in this case the hospice worker was sympathetic but her superiors were not?


Also, beware of speaking of your membership in Hemlock , or any other right-to-die group, or even a far-off
self-deliverance, to any mental health professional because they might in some cases report this to higher authority, which could order a 48-hour hospitalization to assess the case. This is a catastrophe for a mentally healthy person.
Just because there is so much talk these days in the media about assisted suicide, do not drop your guard. You may be talking to someone whose ethics on choice are entirely different to yours.

Web Site: Euthanasia World Directory

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Reviewed by M. B.
Scary. It seems to me most people, including those who are against euthanasia while in top form, will more than likely change their minds and attitude when faced with their own suffering while on death's threshold. Thanks for the heads up. Very good article, excellent writing.
Reviewed by Albert Willems
It is a tricky topic,but I feel nobody has the right to make the decision of how and when for me.It seems to me,that most of the people who are against euthanasia are so because of religious persuasion,that was not based on personal conviction,but rather on indoctrination.Those same people I often hear talking about sending our sons and daughters to war to kill other innocent and ablebodied young people or risk being killed themselves.It often was a bullet in the front from an unknown enemy,who was in the same boat,or one in the back from your own leaders.I will not call on anybody to take resposibility for whatever decision I made when I am to meet my Maker.If we believe to be living in a democratic society,then we should be able to determine our own fate.Man should be master of his own destiny.
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