To the Editor:
There are many misconceptions surrounding the concept of “death with dignity.” Many people are under the assumption that in states with legal aid-in-dying, anyone will be able to use these procedures if they ask. This is simply untrue. There are criteria that must be met to be eligible for this end of life option, and the physician prescribing the treatment must be on board with this decision as well. This criteria includes: being a resident of a state in which it is legal, being 18 years or older, the individual must be deemed mentally competent, and must be diagnosed with a terminal illness that will, within reasonable medical judgement, lead to death within six months. The patient must also be able to ingest and self-administer the prescribed medication. These criteria are non-negotiable and must be approved by two physicians. According to an October 2018 survey by Public Policy Polling, they found 87% of Ohioans support the right to “die in as humane and dignified a manner as they see fit,” while 75% support death with dignity legislation. Ohio will likely introduce an aid-in-dying bill in 2021, and the population should consider the benefits of approving this bill. Legalizing this bill would be a move in the right direction for allowing the patients to have autonomy in their own death. They would be able to decide what medical interventions to allow or forgo. This bill would also allow for relief of suffering. We believe in relief of suffering for our beloved pets: why would we not want the same for our beloved family members? Finally, aid-in-dying would allow doctors to provide a safe, peaceful death for their patients in away that suicide cannot. There would be many safeguards in place with legal physician aid-in-dying to prevent abuse of the system and coercion from outside persons.
With the introduction and passing of this bill, many people would be provided a means of death that would satisfy their wishes, on their own terms and with their dignity intact.
A Senior YSU Nursing Student