Death with dignity should be a fundamental human right

April 24, 2016

Lindsey Bever of the Washington Post wrote on Friday,

One gunshot.

Then another.

Within minutes, a prominent death-with-dignity advocate was shot dead along with his ailing wife in an assisted living center in Florida.

Eighty-one-year-old Frank Kavanaugh — who served on the national advisory board for the Final Exit Network, an advocacy organization in the right-to-die debate — was discovered dead in the early morning hours Tuesday alongside his wife, 88-year-old Barbara Kavanaugh.

The couple was found at the Solaris HealthCare Charlotte Harbor center in Port Charlotte, Fla. Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Skip Conroy said the case is being investigated as a murder-suicide.

I support death with dignity via physician assisted suicide. There are any number of ways to design the process for the purpose of excluding a spur-of-the-moment decision based on situational depression. If the woman in this case could have opted for physician assisted suicide, she likely would have, given the information in the article. However, it was not an option.

My English teacher in high school did what Frank Kavanaugh did. She shot to death her terminally-ill-with-cancer lover and then drove to the police station where she committed suicide by shooting herself in the head. She left a note explaining why she did it.

I was shocked, of course, as all of us were, but we respected her decision and the courage it took to do what she did.

Since most people do not want to commit suicide and could not be talked into it, I doubt that physician assisted suicide would unleash a tsunami of suicides.

For more information, please read another story by Lindsey Bever about Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old woman who was terminally ill with a stage 4 malignant brain tumor. She chose to die with dignity in her own bed at home via physician-assisted suicide surrounded by her loved ones.

I would like to see death with dignity via physician-assisted suicide designated as a fundamental human right.

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PS: Rachel’s father passed peacefully early Saturday morning. Our cat, Byrd, was killed by a vehicle on the street behind our house at approximately the same time. We found his cold body lying in the street when we walked out to our car at dawn. I buried him deep in the woods on a hill overlooking a lake.


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