Patient Said Insurer Encouraged Suicide


Another reason Life Legal is fighting California’s assisted suicide law.

From The Gazette:

“As Coloradans decide on a dangerous assisted-suicide proposal, a California woman provides proof of our greatest fear. She wants treatment for a deadly disease, but finds herself at the mercy of a greedy insurance company that will only pay for suicide pills under the state’s new suicide law.”

Read the entire article here.

Terminally Ill Patients Don’t Use Aid-In-Dying Laws To Relieve Pain


Yet another reason Life Legal is challenging California’s assisted suicide law.

Instead of helping only terminally ill patients in physical pain, assisted suicide laws are being used by patients in psychological distress.

From Kaiser Health News:

“It’s a bait and switch,” said Dr. Ira Byock, executive director and chief medical officer for the Institute for Human Caring of Providence Health and Services, based in Torrance, Calif. “We’re actually helping people hasten their deaths because of existential suffering. That’s chilling to me.”

Read the article here.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day


Over 800,000 people commit suicide across the globe each year. The purpose of World Suicide Prevention Day is to connect, communicate, and care in order to help prevent people from taking their own lives.

In California, Life Legal is challenging California’s assisted suicide law, which allows physicians to prescribe life-ending drugs to their patients. Studies have shown that legalizing physician-assisted suicide increases the number of overall suicides. The End of Life Option Act sends the message that some lives are not worth living. Doctors should be encouraged to care for–not abandon–their patients, especially those facing a difficult diagnosis.

Stephanie’s Journey


“I can’t sit and watch that happen without having something to say about it, I can see solutions. It’s not easy, but life isn’t meant to be easy.”

Stephanie Packer, a 32-year old mother of four, diagnosed in 2012 with a terminal diagnosis, shares her reasons for opposing assisted suicide. Featuring Dr. Aaron Kheriaty.

When Stephanie Packer, a 32-year-old wife and mother of four, was told in 2012 that she had three years to live, the news didn’t sink in right away. It took a month for her to acknowledge that her days were numbered, and during that time many of her friends were unable to deal with the prognosis and deserted her.

Packer said she often feels alone, unwilling to burden her husband and family with her fears. “When you’re sick and dying, everyone around you is going through it, too,” she noted. “It’s a ripple effect that touches everyone around you, but you can’t let it consume you.”

She was diagnosed with scleroderma, a chronic connective tissue disease. Scleroderma affects each person differently; in her case, the disease has caused scar tissue to form in her lungs making it difficult for her to breathe. For the past month, she has taken all nutrients (TPN) through a PICC line because scar tissue from the disease has paralyzed her gastrointestinal tract, prohibiting anything by mouth except tiny sips of water.

Yet far from letting the terminal diagnosis define or defeat her, Packer has found new purpose in leading and participating in support groups for fellow scleroderma patients who are dealing with symptoms and effects of the difficult-to-diagnose disease. A former church youth minister, Packer also is actively working to combat California’s proposed End of Life Option Act, SB 128, introduced to the state legislature on Jan. 21. She speaks on media panels and at ethics conferences and tries to advocate for other dying patients.

Based on Oregon’s successfully enforced assisted-suicide law, the California legislation would permit physician-assisted suicide for terminal patients with 6 months or less to live. “Terminally ill people need to know they’re valuable and worthwhile,” Packer said.

“They think they will add value to their lives by taking their own lives, that ending their lives sooner is more dignified. But if they really value their lives and the lives of the people around them, they could entrust their doctors to care for them properly and treat their pain.”


How One Woman Chose Assisted Suicide…Then Survived

In 1994, Jeannette Hall, a resident of King City, Ore., voted in favor of Ballot Measure 16, which for the first time in the United States, would allow terminally ill patients to end their own lives through physician-assisted suicide.

“I thought, hey, I wouldn’t want anyone to suffer,” Hall told The Daily Signal. “So I checked it. Then it became legal.”

That day at the ballot box, Hall never could have predicted that six years later, she would be diagnosed with inoperable colon cancer.

“She was terminal because she was refusing treatment,” Dr. Kenneth Stevens, one of Hall’s two cancer doctors, told The Daily Signal. “It’s like a person could be considered terminal if they’re not taking [their] insulin or [other] medications.”

Read Jeannette’s story here.

(Video: The Daily Signal and Patchbay Media)



How Has Assisted Suicide Worked in Oregon?

  1. In Oregon, fewer than 6% of individuals who have died by assisted suicide were ever referred for psychiatric consultation to rule out the most common causes of suicidal thinking. This lack of basic psychological evaluation and treatment constitutes medical negligence.
  2. The first woman to die by assisted suicide in Oregon was initially refused a prescription for aid-in-dying drugs by her physician and a second consulting doctor because she suffered from untreated clinical depression. Compassion in Choices, an organization that actively encourages assisted suicide, referred her to a doctor who prescribed the lethal drug.
  3. In Oregon, a small number of physicians, fewer than 200 out of over 10,000 physicians statewide, write a disproportionately large number of the prescriptions, creating a marginalized cottage industry.
  4. The number of deaths from assisted suicide in Oregon was 37% percent higher in October than the 2014 average. After Brittany Maynard’s death on November 1, 2014, deaths from assisted suicide spiked in November, rising 71.4% above the 2014 average.
  5. The overall suicide rate in Oregon has risen dramatically following the legalization of assisted suicide there. As of 2010, suicide rates were 35% higher in Oregon than the national average.
  6. Proponents of assisted suicide claim that “physician aid in dying” is not really suicide because taking a deadly drug is allegedly peaceful. Data from Oregon reveals numerous cases where patients have experienced severe physical and emotional symptoms from the drugs, including feelings of terror, confusion, and vomiting. In some cases, patients fall into a coma for several weeks before they die.