By Katie Engelhart, The California Sunday Magazine, March 20, 2019
The story of Debra Koosed who was diagnosed with dementia at 65 and applied to end her life through the Final Exit Network (FEN). After a devastating accident years before, and her husband’s long illnesses, Debra read the terms of the reverse mortgage her husband had signed to cover their medical bills. Debra was stunned by how little money she had left. This article describes the Final Exit Network process and explains how Oregon’s Death with Dignity law works.
Debra said that she would kill herself before she lost herself completely. She would wait for as long as she could because she did not want to die, but she wouldn’t wait too long.
Compassion & Choices (C&C) Opposes Expanding Oregon’s Death with Dignity Law.
No U.S. state has seriously considered the idea of extending aid in dying to dementia patients, and no major American lobby group is advocating for it. In fact, the main lobbying group for death with dignity laws, Compassion and Choices (C&C), is against extending the law to cover dementia patients. Their position is that demented patients can kill themselves by Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking (VSED).
In January 2019, Mitch Greenlick, Oregon legislator, introduced another bill that would expand the Death With Dignity Act’s definition of “terminal illness” in a way that, he hopes, could include dementia. C&C opposed that bill as well.
Read the story of one woman’s journey to end her life with an inert gas.