Matt passed away on January 21st. He misses him more than words can say, but is grateful he had the option to end his suffering. Matt loved his life and he just didn’t want to die at the age of 52. But after nearly a decade of chemotherapy, radiation, hospitalization, and surgery in a valiant attempt to cure skin cancer that has spread to his brain, bones, and lymph nodes, he gives him the option of staying home. It was a blessing. To take medicine and live in peace.
Seeing the difference medical assistance made to Matt in his dying days and the needless suffering it saved him, I hope this option is available to others. For millions of Americans who depend on the insurance and medical facilities they provide, dying medical assistance is financially inaccessible. This is largely due to decades-old laws banning the use of federal funds for this end-of-life payment. care options.
Although specific polls on dying medical assistance are limited, 2020 Gallup Poll There is widespread support for making end-of-life care options available to patients with incurable diseases. In the 2021-2022 legislative session alone, at least 12 states have introduced laws allowing dying medical assistance. Despite this fact, dying medical assistance remains a widely misunderstood practice.
often equated with Physician-assisted suicide, suicide, euthanasia, A term often misused by the news media and deliberately used by opponents to describe it. As a registered veterinary nurse and the spouse of a loved one who used medical assistance at the time of death, this equivalence worries me.
Euthanasiais illegal throughout the United States, but is the deliberate act of administering a lethal drug by another individual rather than by the dying person, according to American Medical Association. In contrast, lethal medical assistance requires the patient to be able to self-medicate. This provision allows them to remain in control of the process, so they can change their mind at any time and decide not to take the medication.
It is also important to point out what the patient must do. meet certain criteria To qualify for dying medical assistance. State law also establishes some safeguards, such as requiring doctors to inform people about other end-of-life care options and requiring doctors to offer patients the opportunity to revoke their claims. .Matt’s case, he had to meet 13 different requirements California before medical assistance in death was possible.
As cultural anthropologist Anita Hanning put it, “Terminal patients who seek assistance in dying do not have suicidal thoughts. Without terminal prognosis, they do not have an independent desire to end their lives.” Many patients seeking medical assistance at the time of death are very offended when medical procedures are called suicide or assisted suicide.of Journal of Palliative Medicine published peer-reviewed clinical criteria for physician-assisted death rather than physician-assisted suicide.
there is incomparable A mentally competent terminally ill patient who is destined to die no matter what and wants to die peacefully at his bedside with his loved ones, usually alone, often violently, by suicide. among the mentally disturbed who end prematurely. (A worldwide directory of resources and international hotlines can be found at International Suicide Prevention AssociationYou can also point it at friends around the world.)
But by 2022, just over 1 in 5 Americans will still have access to dying medical assistance. people who live Can you die peacefully in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, or Washington DC by state border or zip code? Why do we need to decide whether or not we need to suffer needlessly to die?
most private insurance and state-funded Medicaid plans California, Hawaii When Oregon It covers most of the substantial cost of medical assistance leading to death.
But for the millions of Americans who rely on federally funded insurance (such as Medicare, Tricare) and medical facilities (such as Veterans Affairs Homes), life-threatening medical assistance is not available.
One of the main reasons for this grave injustice is outdated federal law.of April 1997Congress wrongly passed a law pejoratively named Assisted Suicide Financing Act (ASFRA)This prohibits using federal funds to pay for end-of-life care. ASFRA was a preemptive strike against Oregon. Japan’s first near-death medical law, which came into effect six months later in October 1997. And even though more states passed medical aid in dying laws in the decades that followed, ASFRA is still in force. Due to restrictions established by that federal law, my husband, Matt, was ineligible for medical assistance in the event of death by VA Healthcare.
Luckily for Matt, thanks to generous friends, he spent $1,400 for the doctor’s visits and $700 for the near-death medication needed to make sure Matt met the law’s stringent, multi-step standards. I was able to cover $2,100 in medical bills, including.
But not everyone is so lucky, and dying medical assistance should not be available only to a select few. We have an ethical and moral obligation to correct Especially for terminally ill veterans who risk their lives to protect their country and deserve a peaceful death.
Having medical help in dying for Matt spared him even more suffering. He was already in a lot of pain.
A great friend of Matt’s, Jason Vasquez, an intensive care unit nurse who served with him in the Gulf War, aptly said near the end of his life: “Matt, there’s something better than this.
It is morally wrong to make someone suffer like Matt did. Having witnessed Matt’s suffering firsthand, I believe it is ethically wrong to allow someone to continue to live in such a state of torture.