Ill Doctor Puts Spotlight on Euthanasia
August 13, 2012- Dr. Richard Wesley suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis an incurable disease that ruins the body’s muscles while allowing the mind to remain intact. However, he know that he can make the decision when, where and by what form he can die.
He lives in Washington, which has the Death With Dignity Act and his physician has prescribed for him a dose of barbiturates that is lethal. Wesley would prefer if he could die naturally, but because of his condition, it could become both difficult and protracted. His plan is to take the drugs and within minutes, die peacefully.
Washington State has followed Oregon in giving the right to terminally ill patients to receive drug prescriptions that hasten their death. The critics of these laws fear that the poor would feel pressured to do the same because they could not afford to pay the health care and would not want to burden family members. However, the demographics of those who have received the lethal prescriptions are surprisingly different from what most expected. The overwhelming majority are white, financially comfortable and well educated.
The thought of assisted death remains a taboo issue for many. Voters will decide in Massachusetts in November on a law that would be nearly identical to the ones in Washington and Oregon. Other efforts however have failed in Hawaii, Maine and California.