Five states have a Death with Dignity Act: Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Montana, New Mexico. Twenty-six states are now considering laws. A 2014 Harris Interactive Poll puts nationwide support for aid in dying at 74 percent.

Maine has put back on the legislative agenda L.D. 1270, “An Act Regarding Patient-Directed Care at the End of Life.”

When you read this bill, you will see the safeguards that are written into the measure. This bill is designed for mentally competent adults with a terminal physical illness. It is a bill that would not allow patients with a diagnosed mental illness participate in the Maine Death with Dignity Act.

Participation of physicians and pharmacists will be voluntary. In the five states where Death with Dignity is legal, only a small minority of patients have chosen to go through the effort designed in these laws to receive the prescription to end their life. It is not an easy process.

What is it to die with dignity? That means you are present and aware of your home surroundings. You are not drugged into unconsciousness. You are still you.

You and the family and friends who surround you know that your disease is terminal and will shortly require extreme measures to keep you free from unbearable pain. You can’t control your disease, you can’t stop your life from ending, but you can control how and when your life ends.

If you want to hear your loved ones singing to you, feel the presence of your pet, hold hands with your loved ones or know they are sharing prayers for you during your final hours, then you and they will experience the beauty and dignity of your death.

Linda Lyman

Springvale


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