Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Terminally Ill Mom denied treatment coverage - but suicide drug is approved

From The NY Post:

Stephanie Packer wants to be the face of a Right to Live movement — for as long as she draws breath.

“I just want to spend every last second with my kids,” Packer, a terminally ill, married mother of four kids, ages 7 through 13, tells me.

Nearly two years ago, Brittany Maynard, at just 29 years old, became the face of the right to die movement now sweeping across the United States. In Oregon, surrounded by loved ones, she took her own life, legally, before a brain tumor could do it for her, with a self-administered overdose of physician-prescribed barbiturates. I supported her choice to end her agony.

But at what cost?

Packer struggles to open her eyes each blessed morning. And the cultural landscape to which she wakes has shifted dramatically of late into one of pro-death. In June, her home state of California enacted a law permitting doctor-assisted suicide. And something terrible happened.

Premature passing away with medical help is now widely seen as preferable to painful, prolonged living, Packer says. But she’ll fight to live with every last labored gasp drawn from her oxygen tube before ultimately accepting a natural end.

“I want my kids to see that death is a part of life,” she says.

At age 29, Packer was diagnosed with scleroderma, a chronic autoimmune disease that causes scar tissue to form in her lungs. A doctor told her she had three years to live. Now 33, she has outlived the death sentence.

But as her condition deteriorates, she’s finding little support for her fight to stay alive.

Since California’s End of Life Option Act took effect, attitudes expressed by sick members of support groups she’s run or been involved with have changed to the grim. Where once members exchanged messages of hope, “people constantly are talking about, ‘We should be doing this [dying].’ ”

Read more here.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/family_law/2016/10/terminally-ill-mom-denied-treatment-coverage-but-suicide-drug-is-approved.html

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