Rating is available when the video has been rented.
This feature is not available right now. Please try again later.
Published on Oct 1, 2012
Andrew Beckwith, the Executive Vice President of Massachusetts Family Institute, discusses the Death with Dignity Act on the upcoming November ballot in Massachusetts. The proposed bill supports physician-assisted suicide, and would allow people who have been told they have six months or less to live, to take a lethal dose of drugs. Andrew interviews Diane Kaulbach, a cancer survivor, about the complexities of her real-life situation. Dr. Jane Driver, a Geriatric Oncologist in Boston, discusses the requests of older patients, who frequently feel they want to die. She elaborates how a person can respond to pressure in times of crisis, feel like a burden, and desire to make a decision to end their life, but later, be glad to be alive. Dr. Driver raises the issue of the impact of such a decision upon society..."Whenever a society determines there is such a thing as a life worth living, then an important line has been crossed... Where do you stop?" She emphasizes the importance of learning from history such as pre-World War II Germany, and the study of countries where this procedure has been legalized. Disturbing elements of this bill require doctors to falsify the cause of death, diagnosis is not reliable, and there is no provision for a mental health evaluation. Mary Roque, an Elder Law Attorney, sounds an alarm about the vulnerability of the elderly, which leaves them open to abuse, coercion and neglect. She expresses concern that a person who is terminally ill would be able to obtain a prescription for a lethal drug, provided there are two witnesses, one of whom can be a heir. An elderly person could be at-risk to be exploited by a "greedy heir" and even murdered, because no supervision is mandated concerning the administration of the drug. John Kelly addresses the pressure already on handicapped people from the medical system and the incongruity with which the term "dignity" is applied... "The dignity they are talking about is not living with the conditions that people with disabilities know well...It's inevitable, once you describe death as a medical benefit with a price on it....when insurers see every claim as a loss, and when doctors are under financial pressure to limits costs, especially in the last year of life, it's just hopelessly naive to think that financial pressures will not distort decisions."