Monday, October 22, 2012

How to Die in Oregon

Last Friday's documentary class showed, How to Die in Oregon.  The movie is about the law in Oregon that allows doctors to prescribe a lethal dose of pills to persons with a diagnosis of less than six months to live. This was timely as Massachusetts has a similar bill that people will vote on in a couple of weeks.  It was a sensitive, very well done, relatively balanced documentary. The woman in the photo, Cody, had advanced liver cancer. She had a kind and understanding doctor, family and friends. She had a period of remission and so lived longer than the six months.  Being in control was very important to her and her family understood that.

The film showed other people who made a similar decision and also showed some people who were against the legislation.  I feel strongly that people who are of clear mind and definitely want to be in control should have this option. I'm sure I would want it.  In the movie we saw when Cody became very ill, the pain she was in before she made the decision. The movie maker did not show her final hour or so. 

The discussion after the movie was thoughtful and, as with this group of adults, open, honest and touched various sides of the issue.  I realized that really, even though I am quite healthy, I should have those important legal documents, a medical proxy, a living will and a power of attorney for my near-by daughter.  I know how I will vote on the question, and I am going to follow through with the paperwork I should have.  I think I've dragged my feet out of a mixture of (probable) overconfidence and denial.  I think many other people do the same thing, at least until they get a scary diagnosis.  The film was shown at Sundance and I think it can be attained several places. It's worth watching.

1 comment:

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

June -- Oregon has been in the vanguard of social issues for quite some time. This is a good law and unfortunately there are folks against it for various reason. Good that you discussed this on your blog today as I am sure there are folks unaware of Oregon's law.Anyone in the country can be referred medically to opt to die in and under Oregon's law. You give good advice about having your paperwork in order. Did not realize Mass. will be voting on this issue come Nov. Will watch to see how your state votes. -- barbara