The right to a peaceful death is what a cancer patient and five doctors are seeking in a lawsuit filed on Wednesday in a California court. According to the lawsuit, the patient, and the five doctors want the law to exempt physicians of any wrong doing when they help terminally ill patients end their lives upon request
Lead plaintiff in the case 53-year-old, Christine White, in a written statement says she is suing the state of California to remove the legal barrier. That would allow her achieve a peaceful death at the time and place of her choosing.
California has in place an assisted suicide law, but it is considered ambiguous in instances of physicians assisted suicide. The plaintiffs argue that doctors who provide such assistance are not helping in the course of suicide but instead giving the patients an option to a peaceful death.
The plaintiffs are basing their arguments on the case of Brittany Maynard a California resident who was forced to move to Oregon to get her wish of a peaceful death, after battling with brain cancer. Maynard had made her case public with a series of videos that turned out to be online hits as she sought to end her life legally through medically induced drugs.
White on her part maintains she does not want to leave her husband, family and friends to go to Oregon to achieve the medically induced death. Currently, only five states allow patients to seek aid in dying- Oregon Vermont, New Mexico, Montana, and Washington.
Opponents, on the other hand, argue that approving such acts would be in violation of doctor’s oath of never to do harm. They also argue that legalizing such practices could also make some patients feel pressurized to end their lives in instances of high treatment costs or insurers refusing to cater for medical payments
Marilynn Golden a senior policy analyst believes that with legalization of suicide, some people’s life would be ended without their consent through mistakes or abuse.