Dying by Choice

While the Ebola panic dominates the news, an equally important story goes almost unnoticed.

Brittany Maynard, 29, suffers from a rare, untreatable, and 100% fatal brain cancer; diagnosed with grade II Astrocytoma, the most aggressive form.

The prognosis for the progression of the disease is one of rapidly decreasing quality of life and a painful decline to death.

Ms. Maynard chooses to end her own life, on her own terms, after living long enough to celebrate her husband’s birthday.

The real tragedy here is that we may have already had a cure if we had prevented religion from interfering in the funding and course of scientific research.  I am referring to stem cells and other promising medical research.

Whether or not it would make a difference in this matter, no one knows. 

We do know that prohibiting the research did make a difference.  It condemned her to die.

Another argument, once again fueled by religious zealotry, would prohibit her access to choose the time and manner of her death.  There are only four states in the country where this choice is available.

They argue it should be left in God’s hands.

That would be the same God who, if he did not inflict the disease on her, at least let it happen. You can’t argue this point.  Omnipotence is pretty specific. God either chose to allow it or inflicted her intentionally.

Sad state of the world when this country would turn its back on suffering and slow, painful deaths based on Bronze age writings manipulated by a powerful, self-sustaining organization propagating a myth.

The other side of this story is one of courage and hope.

Courage. This young woman shows remarkable courage in choosing to die with dignity, in her own time, without subjecting her family to the agony of watching her prolonged and painful death. 

Hope.  There is hope that her decision to end her life in this manner will spur people to demand medical research guided by thoughtful, knowledge based, and scientific methodology.

Not restricted by religious nonsense.

Let’s hope that Brittany Maynard’s courage will inspire others. We must all take action to insure her willingness to share the choice forced upon her, and her dealing with the reality of death, is not in vain.

I wonder how many of us would have the courage to do the same.