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June 10th, 2011
06:03 PM ET

Ending one's life a right, doctor says

Dr. Lawrence Egbert is the former medical director for the Final Exit Network, a group that supports “the human right to a death with dignity.” Throughout his tenure with FEN, Egbert reviewed and processed hundreds of applications for assisted suicide. Below, in his own words, Egbert explains his philosophy. He’ll be a guest on "Sanjay Gupta, MD" this weekend (Saturday – Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ET) to defend his stance that suicide is a viable option to end pain and suffering.

My name is Lawrence Deems Egbert, but most friends call me Larry. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1948, the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1952, and was then called into the Navy. I served seven years, where I was assigned to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Philadelphia, as a resident specializing in anesthesia.

Not surprisingly I have given a lot of thought to [why I work with the Final Exit Network]. Being arrested and needing a criminal lawyer gets one’s attention! Simple answer: Such work needs doing and I have the technical background to help out.

A person is suffering unbearably. The situation is hopeless and the doctors are doing all sorts of “treatments” which are painful and do not seem to help very much. The situation is hopeless, over and over again, hopeless. There are a lot of such persons and some simply cannot stand it any more and want out. And I have the technical skills which could help them out.

Nowadays (at least until my arrest) people were asking me would I help them out of the hopeless situation. Oh, of course I could simply tell such a person where to buy a rifle. Many Americans opt out by using a rifle. I am told Canadians and Australians in the same fix opt out using a rope. And repeatedly I have heard that doctors find ways to not stay involved.

I like to think I am a person who says yes to such questions, at least sometimes. Odd, because I have said NO loudly and repeatedly to us “helping” the state with its executions, the so-called “lethal injections.” The difference is that the patient with the horrible disease has asked for such care. I have never offered to help a person die. Actually, I have helped with some people’s thinking it thru and deciding NOT to die right now.

I solidly approve of the idea that competent individuals suffering unbearably should have the right to end their lives when their quality of life is personally unacceptable and their future holds only hopelessness and misery. Such a right should include when to die, where, and how.

I do not believe our work has been illegal but it is quite obvious that some people think it immoral as defined by their religious faith. All I can do for such people is refer them to U.S. Constitutional Amendment # 1.

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Filed under: Death and Dying

soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. T3chsupport

    Great article, sir. Completely agree. good luck!

    June 10, 2011 at 18:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Smee

    The idea of kicking the bucket gives me gas.

    June 10, 2011 at 18:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • babael

      Contrary to what people fiercely believe, a person's life belongs not to the individual, but to Humanity as One Body, One Spirit. Suicide is murder.

      June 11, 2011 at 11:16 | Report abuse |
    • Anon

      that's right Babel. We need your body and soul for important research that could save humanity. Since you do not own your body, I am sure that will not be a problem.

      June 11, 2011 at 19:41 | Report abuse |
  3. BELLESTARRR

    Him being an anesthesiologist...he could put people out painlessly..no plastic bags, no ropes, no rifles..just go to sleep quickly and peacefully...just like before an operation..by the count of 8 from 10 u are gone...we aren't afraid when we go to sleep at night are we...of course not..even though we know we may not wake up in the morning..yes its assumed but not guaranteed...so why be afraid of this....when its my time to go...I hope that option will be available...finally I will get a decent restful sleep.....

    June 10, 2011 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Moe NY

      Great post...obviously I agree with you.

      June 11, 2011 at 00:55 | Report abuse |
    • Rod C. Venger

      His skills are also the answer to the end of the debates over "cruel and unusual" execution drugs. As an anesthesiologist, he has the knowledge and skills to keep a person asleep, unaware and pain free. He can also induce unconsciousness so that running an IV is 100% trauma-free. Realistically, an anesthetic gas, in the absence of oxygen, will produce death within a few minutes...no muss, no fuss...no lawsuits over pain issues or trauma issues at all. If liberal anesthesiologists truly believe in "doing no harm" they'd get on board with assisting in executions to ensure that the procedure is pain free. With or without them, the procedure IS going to happen. Better that they should get involved and ensure it's done right.

      June 11, 2011 at 01:18 | Report abuse |
    • Joy

      Beautifully put. I'm a 40 year old cancer survivor, twice now. The surgeries have been brutal; the chemo a nightmare. The toll on my family has been enormous. While I try to be hopeful, I live with the reality that another recurrence is very likely. Should that time come, and treatments fail me or become unbearable, a gentle alternative to the suffering seems only fair.

      June 11, 2011 at 01:21 | Report abuse |
    • MarylandBill

      The toll on your family? Having lost someone very close to me to cancer, that has always seemed to me to be a weak argument. Did the last 10 months of her life take a terrible toll? I suppose; but it was nothing compared to the year or two afterwards.

      I ultimately hope assisted suicide ends up going away. That the toll on one's family should ever be a variable in the equation suggests how dangerous it is that people will start submitting to it, not to meet their own needs, but rather because of pressure from the family. Trust me, if the family is worth that consideration, they probably would be the first to argue that their needs should not play a role. And if they are arguing about their needs, then they are not worth considering.

      June 11, 2011 at 02:08 | Report abuse |
    • Mahna Mahna

      It is definitely more selfish and cruel to want someone who is suffering to live for your sake than for someone to want to die and not suffer any longer. Though one's family has the chance to be around this person for a while longer, it is in essence torture to not support their 'assisted suicide' because without support, that person is very unlikely to go through with it, thus, they will be trapped in hell, albeit with their family. There is nothing cowardly about suicide - and wanting to see someone live that otherwise wants to die is for our sole benefit, and realistically, there really is no point in sacrificing yourself to a life of pain and suffering when in the end we all die anyway. To prolong death in exchange for a painful torture is allowing the family to remain in denial and ignore the fact that they will all eventually die, some painfully, some not. The biggest gift we can give someone is to show them that we are able to move on, be strong, and assure them that everything will be alright. Support them in their choices whether it may be dying at home with no medical intervention, or dying with assistance, or even dying with the aid of hallucinogenic drugs or even just plain Mary Jane.

      June 11, 2011 at 03:57 | Report abuse |
    • God (the REAL one)

      MarylandBill, what a selfish person you are.

      June 11, 2011 at 06:08 | Report abuse |
  4. MJB

    I agree if someone wants to end their life due to an illness etc. Been in the medical field for 40 years and have seen it all.
    There are many that are in so much pain and NO MJ will not help either. That they should have a choise to end it all.

    June 10, 2011 at 18:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Moe NY

      MJB...I totally agree with you. I, too, work in the medical profession and have, unfortunately, witnessed the same situations as you have.... so very very sad. The only thing I would add to your post is...I would not want doctors making the call (which actually they do now, and have been doing for a long time...in their own way) the individual should make the call, not doctors, family or anyone else. It should be up to the individual to make that final decision. Guess in a case where coma is involved that is a different matter...I think people should be able to put in writing what they desire in such situations.

      June 11, 2011 at 01:09 | Report abuse |
    • Rod C. Venger

      Doctors have been snowing patients and assisting in their their deaths for decades. They even warn the patient that upping their morphine to keep them pain free will suppress their respirations and hasten their deaths. They dance on the head of a pin and think no one's watching. You need to take a more active role. "Doing no harm" is meaningless if you allow a person to suffer knowing that there's an alternative.

      June 11, 2011 at 01:27 | Report abuse |
  5. QS

    Thank you for your dedication and approach to this issue. All people should have the right to decide their own deaths as much as all people should have the right to decide their own lives. I know if I was in that position I would opt for it, and if denied would put more effort into finding a way to do it myself than they put into keeping me alive and in pain.

    This is indeed important work and an important issue. Religious beliefs should not even be considered unless they are of the person asking for the help, nobody else's even matter. Dr. Kevorkian, I believe, would be gratified to know that someone else is brave enough to take on this controversial issue...which is only controversial because some people think they should have the final say in what others do with their own lives.

    June 10, 2011 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Matt

      @honesttogod DId you read the article or jump straight to the comments? This article is about a doctor who would only do this if asked by the patient. This is NOT a doctor who is killing that he thinks deserve to die. You are right in considering that murder. But this article is not about that. This is about respecting the wishes of another person, even if it goes against your faith

      June 11, 2011 at 00:33 | Report abuse |
    • Misfitsoda

      Honesttogod "I kind of wonder if Kervorkian told you all to kill your first born so that you could live an extra 20 years you'd all follow like sheep because – after all – he is a respectable doctor". Hmmmm, replace the word "Kevorkian" and "doctor" with the word "God". Thats how I feel about you people. Except I can see Kevorkian and I feel confident most people can too. Ugh, can't wait until like 20 years from now when everyones like, "wait, hold on...why are we considering arguments about how god feels on a matter when enacting laws?"

      June 11, 2011 at 00:54 | Report abuse |
    • Deb M

      I am completely behind this doctor. Of course it should and would be discussed, but the decision is up to the one who is suffering. To me living in unbearable pain is not something I would choose to do knowing it would be unremitting for the rest of my life. That also goes for people in mental turmoil. One of my dearest friends committed suicide. He had tried unsuccessfully 10 years earlier, and we all called him selfish and were horrified and angry. After knowing him well for the remaining years of his life, I grew to understand his pain and how it never left him no matter what he tried to do. When he succeeded, I was angry for about 1 day, and then I realized he was free. Yes I grieved for him and miss him, but there was no anger, only understanding. I think that people who are angry or don't understand another's need to not live in this world are projecting their own judgments and fear of death on those who would help. Don't we all want to be pain free, no matter what our pain is? I respect people who make that choice. We prolong the lives of the suffering too long in many cases. That is immoral to me.

      June 11, 2011 at 03:12 | Report abuse |
  6. mabel floyd

    death is a family event not a medical event. medicine should support the patient and who ever the patient selects as family. the others should stay out of it.

    June 10, 2011 at 19:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. UTdoc

    Very important issue. The right to end one's life with assistance should be an explicitly protected one.

    June 10, 2011 at 19:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rossita

      Absolutely!!! I have seen religious people saying that only GOD can end life. Well, then why should we have older people with no quality of life, bedridden with feeding tubes when GOD already "gave the order" for these people to stop eating? Aren't we interfering with God plans there?

      June 10, 2011 at 21:25 | Report abuse |
  8. clark1b

    interesting ... it would appear that the author believes that he and/or some people have the ability to omnisciently know when the point of hopelessness takes place. which means that they have necessarily probed and examine all options and all variables ... incredible that a finite individual with finite abilities could accomplish such a task for one person let alone multiple individuals.

    June 10, 2011 at 20:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rossita

      You speak this way because you have never felt pain. My mother suffered Alzheimer's for 11 years until she passed two months ago. She was in pain. Every time we tried to move her she would complain because her arms and legs were contracted. It was very difficult to bathe her and she developed pneumonia, blood clots, skin blisters, cronic constipation, etc, etc, etc... I suffered so much seeing her that way... I am sure if she would have known what she was going to suffer so much she would had ended her life too.

      June 10, 2011 at 21:41 | Report abuse |
    • Adara

      It appears you only read what you wanted to read in the article... the man specifically said "the patient with the horrible disease has asked for such care. I have never offered to help a person die. Actually, I have helped with some people’s thinking it thru and deciding NOT to die right now."

      He is not making the decision... the patient – the party who is suffering – make the decision and subsequent request.

      June 10, 2011 at 23:49 | Report abuse |
    • Moe NY

      @Rossita...so very sorry for your loss. I totally agree with you, it is barbaric the way society and the medical profession makes people suffer needlessly.

      June 11, 2011 at 01:20 | Report abuse |
    • Jebus

      He only wants to help people who come to him in terminal pain. I don't know where you got all that other hogwash. I think you just made it up so you'd have something to argue against.

      June 11, 2011 at 01:48 | Report abuse |
  9. Steve J

    Back off clark. Your sarcasm does nothing for people who HAVE decided that the time is right for them to end their lives. Maybe you're a believer in jebus and his omniscience, but other than him, not even doctors can make that decision for others. I hope this doctor can help people who want his services. No one should have any say in when another person CHOOSES death. No conditions. no laws, just help.

    June 10, 2011 at 20:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. DL

    so, coming from someone who has struggled with depression for years, would you say the same of a person who is manic depressive? because depression is a disease and the people who suffer severely from it are in pain, both physically and mentally. should they decide when they can end their life?

    June 10, 2011 at 20:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JamBit

      Well.. Yes. They should have the right to decide if they want to end their life. If the pain is unbearable and their quality of life suffers, and they feel they would be happy if they moved on then that is their choice. My mother is an example of this. She committed suicide May 9th of this year. She suffered from Manic Depression, Bipolar Disorder and several other medical problems not associated with the brain. She rarely seemed happy. Day in and day out was a struggle for her. She had the right to take her life due to her unbearable illness. I do not resent her for it and respect her decision. Clark please respect others choices to do what they want with their life, and in return people will respect yours.

      ~James~

      R.I.P. Violet

      June 10, 2011 at 21:23 | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      DL, My mother was in and out of hospitals for suicide attempts. After menopause she stopped being so depressed. I just think the doctors couldn't figure out how to fix a hormonal problem she had.

      There is research being done, and more answers to come. It may not be as hopeless as it seems. Please consider that your condition may be fully treatable in the future.

      I believe as adults we are responsible for our own choices and that certainly includes chosing to die. I watched relatives kill themselves with poor life choices (like gourging on chocolate when they were diabetic, smoking while on oxygen, etc.) and no one seems to roar over these forms of suicide. I'd rather own my choices in this life. I have a living will, and have open discussions with my family, my doctor has a copy, so everyone knows exactly where I stand. I have address mental illness along with mental capacity with my family and they know the line in the sand I drew.

      I'd only ask that you let your loved ones and medical team be aware of whatever decisions you make.

      June 10, 2011 at 22:02 | Report abuse |
  11. Linda Vannatta

    what, we are going to play GOD now,heaven knows we do everything else against GOD. He is the one who decide when you die. It still is suicide. I would never think of doing something like that and I have an illness. They will have to answer some day.

    June 10, 2011 at 20:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • honesttogod

      Well said Linda. Thank you.Brace yourself for the incoming from the terminally Godless.

      June 10, 2011 at 21:19 | Report abuse |
    • Adara

      That is your belief based on your faith and should be respected; however, you should respect other people whose views and faith or lack there of, differ from yours. Your faith dictates that is wrong, but not everyone shares that belief nor should they have to abide by it.

      June 10, 2011 at 23:52 | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      Sorry god don't exist.

      June 11, 2011 at 00:07 | Report abuse |
    • Smee

      Turning on caps lock when you type god doesn't make it a real thing.

      June 11, 2011 at 00:38 | Report abuse |
    • Badchecker

      Linda's subjective point of view does not speak for all. If god is even brought up in your argument you are clearly not ready to argue in the public circle.

      June 11, 2011 at 02:03 | Report abuse |
    • MarylandBill

      Bull! Matters such as this are based on deeply held beliefs. Obviously a lack of belief in God (or god/gods), has informed the opinions of many here. At least the person who mentions God is being honest enough to bring their position to the table. Only an arrogant, self-centered hypocrite is so sure that they are right as to launch an ad hominem attack on someone for even mentioning God.

      In the United States belief is still the default position. To win the argument on assisted suicide, you either have to convince the rest of us that God does not exist, or argue for assisted suicide in a way that removes our moral concerns about it.

      June 11, 2011 at 02:19 | Report abuse |
    • lucas

      You do realize, that BY keeping these people alive through electronic breathers, tubes and ect we are playing GOD by defying the natural order and keeping them alive because surely if we did not help them they would die on their own.. By their wishes they were inducted into the hospital and treated and kept alive. If they are allowed to say yes keep me alive why are they not allowed to say no let me die..

      June 11, 2011 at 03:19 | Report abuse |
    • Anna K

      OK, Linda. You don't have to commit suicide if you don't want to. Feel better now?

      June 11, 2011 at 09:49 | Report abuse |
    • Anne

      How foolish that so many people justify euthanasia. We are living in an age of disobedience to God but the truth will be revealed when you die whether you want it revealed or not. I know when that day comes for me I will be happy I chose a life of believing in God rather than not believing. Its your chose, choose wisely.

      June 11, 2011 at 10:46 | Report abuse |
  12. mm

    I have been an ICU ARNP for 27 years I play God everytime I put a ET tube down into someones lungs. What we are talking about here is stopping prolonging someones death and stopping their pain when they ask oe when it is the kindest intervention we have to offer. We do it for our loved pets why not our loved parents or children?

    June 10, 2011 at 20:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • honesttogod

      We can't "lovingly" or "kindly" kill another human being. That language is a stategy to make people who accept God's will look cruel and unreasonable. My mother died of cancer a few years ago and she said: " God fits the back for the burden" She also said that she wasn't afraid of death but she thought the process was undignifed. She never wavered – not once – that God's will would be done. She showed us all the dignity of death after a life well lived.

      June 10, 2011 at 21:16 | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      God is a man made fallacy.

      June 11, 2011 at 00:17 | Report abuse |
  13. mm

    I have been an ICU ARNP for 27 years I play God everytime I put a ET tube down into someones lungs. What we are talking about here is stopping prolonging someones death and stopping their pain when they ask oe when it is the kindest intervention we have to offer. We do it for our loved pets why not our loved parents or children? And no one is forcing anyone just let it be an option.

    June 10, 2011 at 20:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Sandra

    Medical advances have been tremendous, and do improve quality of life. And it can extend life. But when it crosses over to not extending life, but to prolonging a painful death, something else needs to be done, other than ropes, guns, starvation. Example: If we have a pet who has a malignant tumor growing in its face, causing excruciating nonstop agony with no hope of cure or recovery, we have said beloved pet eased out of life. Why can't this be legally applied to people in similar straits. It should be.

    June 10, 2011 at 21:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rossita

      I agree with you.

      June 10, 2011 at 21:44 | Report abuse |
    • Adara

      It is very simple really. Religious doctrine says suicide is wrong and that only humans have souls, so people can reconcile the hypocrisy of ending the suffering of the pet yet not of the human based on that.

      Sad really... when you look at it, we show more love and respect for a pet than an ailing loved one.

      June 10, 2011 at 23:54 | Report abuse |
  15. Erik

    Humans can make all the rules they want to, but when The Day of the Lord comes, God will sort everything out in complete fairness, and judge us by His rules.

    June 10, 2011 at 21:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Randy1st

      Who's God, your God or someone else's God? Religion is for the feeble minded used a crutch when they refuse to try to understand nature. I've seen the effects of cancer on someone dear to my heart and I curse the gods of time for the suffering and pain she endured, so after years of this I found there is no god or gods, just nature doing what it does and mankind's refusal to accept nature and time kills all. As humans we pity and treat our animals better than other humans, so why not accept the fact that not all share your belief that ending ones pain and suffering is justified. I know if I ever hear the sentence that says "You have cancer", I will take one last ride and let nature take its course from there

      June 10, 2011 at 21:45 | Report abuse |
    • Adara

      There are many deities in this world... your God is not the only one people believe in nor the only one that exists.

      It is statements like this arrogantly claiming that there is only one way to have faith that really puzzles me, especially since ALL faiths have the same exact proof of their God's supreme existence – none.

      June 10, 2011 at 23:57 | Report abuse |
    • Misfitsoda

      Cool, so if god is going to judge everyone then don't worry about it. If someone wants to die, let them. God will punish them. So why we arguing, let them die if they want.

      June 11, 2011 at 00:41 | Report abuse |
    • Sagebrush Shorty.

      I wish He would hurry up.

      June 11, 2011 at 05:26 | Report abuse |
  16. honesttogod

    There are only 2 unforgiveable sins [1] Presumption -that you can do as you like and still go to Heaven. And [2] Despair – giving up hope in the mercy of God. Suicide is the sin of despair. DON'T dress it up as being "kind" to the suffering or "respectful" of peoples' choice. It's murder. It's a bit like Abortion; that's murder dressed up to sound respectable as "Pro-choice" God will not be mocked.

    June 10, 2011 at 21:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tim

      honesttogod,
      1) Murder is an act committed against an unwilling individual, not a willing act committed on oneself.
      2) Feel free to abide by your religious beliefs, but don't make others suffer needlessly because of your beliefs.

      June 10, 2011 at 23:34 | Report abuse |
    • idiocracy82

      There are only 2 unforgiveable sins [1] Presumption -that you can do as you like and still go to Heaven. And [2] Despair – giving up hope in the mercy of God. Suicide is the sin of despair. DON'T dress it up as being "kind" to the suffering or "respectful" of peoples' choice. It's murder. It's a bit like Abortion; that's murder dressed up to sound respectable as "Pro-choice" God will not be mocked.

      So then honesttogod, you do not believe in medical care at all? because if we are to become ill on any level, it is God's will and we should accept it?? Feeding tubes and tracheotemies are naturally occuring? Chemotherapy appears in the Bible/
      Listen, Friend, I consider myself to be a Christian as well, but it's Christians like you that make the rest of us look a little nutty. God created man with this funny thing called human nature. It is what it is, and only He can judge me, and my life, and what I did with it. I have had an abortion, and I have had many, MANY, friends take their own lives... None of these things happened because we are or were bad people, but because we made mistakes. Last I knew, as long as you were sorry for what you had done, God forgives you.
      Hell, if I found myself in the same position today, I'd do it again. And I'd be sorry not so much that I had done it, but for having put myself in such a situation. Of course I would, once again, feel shame and sorrow, but you need to bear in mind that a pre-term fetus is basically a parasite. It cannot function without a host body, thus, the host body runs the show. So please, do me the mitzvah of keeping your rosaries off my ovaries. thanks....

      June 11, 2011 at 04:00 | Report abuse |
    • Read #1 again, honesttogod

      If presumption is an unforgivable sin then you should be a bit nervous. It is awfully presumptuous of you to decide for God which of our sins are unforgivable and which are not. He will make that determination – not you or anyone else down here. If He chooses to forgive our sins I don't feel that it is presumptuous of me to assume that He will not check with you first.

      June 11, 2011 at 04:16 | Report abuse |
  17. Mike

    To those who are certain of "god's will" one question. To you think having a machine breath for you when your lungs fail, a pacer keep your heart beating when it would stop on it's own, a dialysis machine clean your blood when your kidneys fail, all without any evidence of brain activity is the way god intended us to leave this earth? I do not profess to know but this exact situation described above happens everyday and seems incongruous with the idea of mercy

    June 10, 2011 at 21:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Volkan

      Actually, on the subject of North Atlantic deep ovueirrntng my officemate is doing his PhD on horizontal convection in regions with sills (of which N. Atlantic ovueirrntng is an example). His research suggests that sea level change could significantly affect the thermal and salinity structure of the main Atlantic basin by changing the depth of the Atlantic over the Iceland-Greenland Ridge, which changes how deep cold water flows from the Arctic basin into the main basin and mixes with the rest of the ocean.It's not really a huge tipping point (since you need sea level changes on the order of tens of meters to have an effect) but another cool one nonetheless. There's just so much we don't know about the oceans though. It's getting better with better equipment, but I suspect that a poor understanding of these changes in ocean dynamics is really holding us back.Roger I'll have a look in the programme. My talks are on Monday morning in the IAVECI symposia on lava flows, so as long as we aren't clashing I'll have to come along and have a listen.

      September 14, 2012 at 02:14 | Report abuse |
  18. honesttogod

    Look at the weather and wars worldwide this year alone. Most of you people are blatantly telling God you don't need Him. Fine – if God decides that's what the majority want – He might just stop holding the world on it's axis. We are going to get more of the same, and worse. If you think I'm a crank, watch and wait. We are in the end times right now. If you can't see it you are seriously deluded or arrogant. Look up end times and links!

    June 10, 2011 at 22:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • John Holroyd

      Here's some homework for you. Look up myth, delusion, arrogance and crank then get a mirror and stare into it for a while. Maybe, just maybe you will manage to figure out who all those words really apply to. Hint. The answer will be staring you in the face. We don't know how it works but it seems to work every time so you will just have to take it on faith and we know your good at that.

      June 10, 2011 at 23:40 | Report abuse |
    • Adara

      <>

      Oh boy! Really?

      Do you realize there are so many other religious mythologies people believe in than just yours? Now and from the beginning of time there have been so many different belief systems and religions – yours is just another one added to the list. It is not the end all and answer to all.

      June 11, 2011 at 00:01 | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      The funky weather is due to CLIMATE CHANGE which you right wingers deny. You get what you believe in so I suggest that you cheer up a bit.

      June 11, 2011 at 00:01 | Report abuse |
    • honesttogod

      @JohnH. – lots of adolescent verbal, very little reason or logic – fairly typical

      @Dave – Since the scientific "proof" of climate change, which you swallow so readily, has been proven to be untrue. [Just a ploy to get millions in the purchase of carbon credits],it's not really valid is it? Climate change is a phase. For instance, 100 years ago the river Thames in London froze for 3 months each winter. The freak weather is very different. Trust me , I'm a meteorologist!

      June 11, 2011 at 00:20 | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      @honesttogod no really, he's being serious. You probably think he's being sarcastic or something. But seriously it's not real, any of it.

      June 11, 2011 at 00:41 | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      never mind that last post, it was mean. sorry. have fun

      June 11, 2011 at 00:47 | Report abuse |
    • honesttogod

      @Matt. Thanks, you're ok! I t was nice of you to send the second post. Respect to you.

      June 12, 2011 at 12:48 | Report abuse |
    • TF

      Are you planning, perhaps, to be Raptured on October 12? If you are, would you send me all your money. You won't be needing it.

      Thought not.

      June 12, 2011 at 23:33 | Report abuse |
  19. Frank

    The same people who say NO one has a right to die usually also support executing people for crimes...a strange hypocrisy.

    June 10, 2011 at 22:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • John Holroyd

      Are you talking about President George Bush (the younger). The right to life president who is responsible for around a half million dead. If so, I had wondered the same thing.
      I'm an atheist so if someone had to die by my hand, I would have to live with it and I couldn't weasel out by blaming the great sky God. You know "I prayed to God and he told me to do it." "it says so in Bible". I must remember that word, hypocrisy, so apt. It's OK to kill Iraqis or Afghanis but we can't kill granny who is being eaten alive by cancer and has been begging for release. Yes, hypocrisy, good word.

      June 11, 2011 at 00:04 | Report abuse |
  20. Dave

    Christians believe that pain and suffering is God's will because our sins.. What a pile of made up crap.. People who are endlessly suffering deserve compassion and a way out. We are such children when it comes to the realities of life, and then you got some guy in a black robe who might be fondling the choir boy telling us how to live.

    June 10, 2011 at 23:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • John Holroyd

      I totally agree.

      June 11, 2011 at 00:19 | Report abuse |
  21. blake

    Another sick Dr. Kevorkian. Add this on top of 50 million unborn children legally murdered by doctors in this country since 1973, and we get a glimpse of where all this is heading. We are only a few years away from following in Hitler's footsteps and seeking to wipe out entire populations of "undesirables". We have become a sick culture.

    June 11, 2011 at 00:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris

      Ahh the inevitable Hitler reference in a topic completely unrelated....Godwin's Law proven once again.

      June 11, 2011 at 00:16 | Report abuse |
    • Adara

      How does one go from ONE Doctor helping people who have CHOSEN to end their own lives to Hitler, a man who ordered the death of millions of people because HE did not think they were fit to live?

      Does religious fanaticism need to be coupled with illogical ramblings? It is bad enough it is usually coupled with self-rightousness and intolerance of others views and beliefs.

      June 11, 2011 at 00:22 | Report abuse |
  22. Adara

    I commend this Doctor for having the courage to go against the status quo and taking his oath of helping people seriously. It takes great courage to do this.

    I fail to understand why people feel they have a right to tell another what they can and cannot do with their own body.

    June 11, 2011 at 00:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. TJeff1776

    I have heard it said that with the right drugs no one need be in pain. NOT TRUE. Cancer had eaten its way into my brothers backbone and even breathing was an extreme torture AND prescribed drugs and injections did little good. Many times my brother wanted poison or something to end it all. He died after three months of extreme pain and suffering beyond
    description. Every day we put animals to death because we sympathize with their suffering. But on the other hand
    stand by and watch fellow human beings suffer lengthy periods of screaming pain before lapsing into exaustful death. It
    doesn't make sense. At least some States have it right and THEY are the true caring types.

    June 11, 2011 at 00:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. BoldGeorge

    The way I look at it is, if people didn't have a right to choose to be born, they should logically not have a right to die. The only way I believe a person should decide to end his/her life is to save another (like in a rescue attempt, sacrificing oneself for another, etc.). This is actually the greatest act of love. But choosing to end your life is just as bad as choosing to end someone else's. I believe in miracles, which obviously leads me to believe in God. I've seen testimonies where doctors have rendered hopeless cancer victims, near death accident victims, hopeless drug addicts, etc. and with prayer and hope, they have pulled through, and in some cases cured. Folks, what I'm saying is, without faith...life definitely is hopeless. But with FAITH in God and PRAYER....you and I CAN make it through any undesirable situation.

    In order for you to grasp anything I'm writing here, you just have to speak to someone that has actually been in a hopeless and painful situation, but miraculously have pulled through and survived their ordeal. I have. Besides, ending your own life is the easy way out to a horrible conclusion.

    June 11, 2011 at 00:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • aginghippy

      Yes, BoldGeorge, there are very rare instances of spontaneous recovery, but they pale in comparison to the millions of cases where the patient dies anyway, after weeks, months or years of suffering. After three decades of working with patients on life support, I can say with certainty that the "miracles" of which you speak are few and far between. The bottom line, of course, is that YOU are free to linger in agony as long as you want, waiting for God to treat you in a special way. The rest of us have the right to reject your God and make our own decisions, and neither you nor the government should have a thing to say about it.

      June 11, 2011 at 08:30 | Report abuse |
  25. Misfitsoda

    Blah, blah, blah, only god can decide, and my mom died and she believed god would take care of her, and you don't know only god knows. That's YOUR god. Will you fn people please go do your own fn thing, no one is stopping you and quit throwing fits when s happens that doesn't fit in with what your little angry man in the sky feels is right or wrong.

    June 11, 2011 at 00:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Moe NY

    I agree with Dr. Egbert. I have always believed in Euthanasia (which is what this article is about). I think an individual should have the right to call it quits...enough is enough. I have witnessed people going through such pain and suffering that I not only cry, but die a little bit inside myself. I know when my time comes, I will not hesitate to put an end to my suffering if I should decide that is the best outlet for me. As far as religious beliefs go...hey...to each their own. Personally, I believe religion just makes people suffer more, almost like the religious sect want people to suffer, or perhaps I am being too harsh...perhaps they are just looking for saints, etc. in this day and age. Personally, have not run across any saints, etc. ever...at least not in America.

    June 11, 2011 at 00:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Doug O

    Not only should this be made available to people with a disease but it should be available to any of us at any time. It is our life and sometimes the world around us collapses and we do not have the strength to go on. We are too advanced in our age and do not have the time to start over from scratch. So why make us stick around to live in a prolonged misery? No, just please help us to set things in order and help us exit, please.

    June 11, 2011 at 00:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. letlive

    I do not believe in god, and yes, I even wrote the word without proper caps. So don't go preaching to me how I should live my live or how I should end my life when the time comes. If I choose to let someone end my life, that's my own decision. Not yours, not your god, not anyone, not even the goverment. You people of religion can do whatever you want for I will not bud into your life. So quit budding into mine. I don't believe in heaven, therefore, I don't believe in hellllllo. we live, we die. make the best of the time you have now.

    June 11, 2011 at 00:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doug O

      Just a little arrogant aren't we? Disrespecting other people's beliefs and trying to be insulting to them by not capitalizing and then pointing it out does not get you any points. Yes, I agree it is our life and we should be free to end it when and how we choose. We just don't have to be azzholes to make our points. And flowers and plants do "budding", people butt into things that may not be their business. So do a little growing, lose the arrogance, nobody is forcing you to believe anything you don't want. Show a little, just a little respect for others and uyou may be taken a bit more seriously than just being dismissed as an ignorant azzwipe.

      June 11, 2011 at 01:11 | Report abuse |
    • Doug O

      Just a little arrogant aren't we? Disrespecting other people's beliefs and trying to be insulting to them by not capitalizing and then pointing it out does not get you any points. Yes, I agree it is our life and we should be free to end it when and how we choose. We just don't have to be azzholes to make our points. And flowers and plants do "budding", people butt into things that may not be their business. So do a little growing, lose the arrogance, nobody is forcing you to believe anything you don't want. Show a little, just a little respect for others and you may be taken a bit more seriously than just being dismissed as an ignorant azzwipe.

      June 11, 2011 at 01:13 | Report abuse |
  29. Doug O

    Sorry for the double post.

    June 11, 2011 at 01:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Reagan80

    It sounded like he was making a rational argument until the gratuitous dig at Christians. Democrats just can't keep that mask on.

    June 11, 2011 at 01:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Moe NY

      @Reagan....drop the politics. This conversation is not about politics. Stop being a troll. This conversation does not even have to do with religion...just choice.

      June 11, 2011 at 01:29 | Report abuse |
  31. John

    Well, I certainly feel that everyone has the right to die. I've recently been diagnosed with cancer, so I've given this a lot of thought lately. I have a plan in place. Yes, it would be nice if I could make the exit with a doctor's assistance, but if not, I will take care of it myself. I only hope that I am not so incapacitated that I could not physically get the job done. That prospect might very well prompt me to do it sooner rather than later. Oh yeah, I don't believe in the Jewish zombie dude or his sky daddy, so at least I have no religious B.S. to get in the way.

    June 11, 2011 at 01:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doug O

      Peace John and all the best to you and yours.

      June 11, 2011 at 01:52 | Report abuse |
    • Joy

      Please see my response to Bellestarrrr above. Not only should a quick & peaceful option be available, but I would hope the legal assistance of a qualified and compassionate doctor would bring some comfort to the patient's loved ones.

      June 11, 2011 at 02:26 | Report abuse |
  32. Lyn

    A few years back, my Uncle developed a form of brain cancer. After trying everything, the cancer grew, along with the pain. Nothing would control it. It was 24/7, and he was told there was no hope, just a long drawn out, hellish existence until he died. One day he drove to a nearby park, took a shotgun, and killed himself. It's bad enough that he had cancer, but he should not have had to die that way. It's only humane that a person in this situation should be able to end their life on their own terms, and in a much more peaceful manner. It's deeply troubling that in this day and time, terminally ill people in uncontrollable pain, have to find their own means of ending it. How alone is that?

    June 11, 2011 at 01:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Commandrea

    So it's okay to offer this compassionate option to our dogs and cats but not to our human loved ones. American Logic.

    June 11, 2011 at 01:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. NashGirl

    I think what bothers me, as someone in the medical field, is the slippery slope prospect. Yes, it is all well and good if a suffering patient has the capacity to make the decision to end his/her life and ask a doctor for help toward that end. But what about someone who does not have that capacity–either momentarily or permanently? Then who decides when a person's "quality of life" is such that it should be ended? I've seen plenty of cases in the hospital where a patient's family was making final arrangements, and suddenly the patient made a startling recovery. Or what about mentally retarded patients? I have seen a number of cases where the person is physically very healthy-just a burden on aging parents or other family members. Who decides in these types of cases? I'm just afraid that if we aren't very, very careful in asserting our "right to die," we may end up eroding the right of these types of patients to live.

    June 11, 2011 at 02:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Robert

    Conservatives will probably argue against assisted suicide, saying that "only god can say when we will die". yet these same people have no trouble with the death penalty.

    June 11, 2011 at 02:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tim E

      And they have no problem getting assistance from humans for medical care when they are sick. If they are sick, maybe their god wants them to die–or so the logic would seem to imply–but, no, they go off to the doctor. So much for leaving life and death in the hands of their god.

      June 11, 2011 at 02:56 | Report abuse |
    • Samed

      Loved the idea of my girls learning about bnesusis and how it needs to be run .my oldest is bound for the world of bnesusis as she is good at both marketing and selling of a product. She is enthusiasic about all she tried to sell and gives it 150%.Thanks for letting us sample this link!God bless,

      September 11, 2012 at 14:42 | Report abuse |
    • Vimal

      OK i am a conservative reclpuibian and i dont even believe in global warmin. Mother nature is doing 98% of global warming and we are doing the other 2% so all those freaks that say that we caused global warming are wrong, i believe that we should do things like recycle but dont go to crazy, and they say that were running out of oil, well we still have enough oil for the next 100,000 years.

      September 13, 2012 at 23:09 | Report abuse |
  36. lucas

    The Point is.. If a person has the right to say yes keep me alive why can they not turn around and say no help me die. Give one solid reason why you should not respect another persons wishes to die in a dignified manner? What makes You right and them wrong. Because it is their Life Not Yours in the end and they should have the right to dictate what to do with it.

    June 11, 2011 at 03:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Friend

    Then how do we know ending another's life is not one's right? Children must have a right not to go to school if they don't want to. On and on and on. Without religion, humans are simply vicious, barbaric monstors.

    June 11, 2011 at 03:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leria

      Bullplop. The fact is that 99% of the violence in the world today can be linked to religion either directly or indirectly. People are NOT vicious barbaric monsters without religion, in fact it's the exact opposite. People are vicious, barbaric monsters WITH religion that allows them to justify forcing their personal likes and dislikes on other people through fiat of law or otherwise.

      June 11, 2011 at 04:27 | Report abuse |
    • Ralph in Orange Park, FL

      Your argument is the kind of non sequitur typical of a religious fanatic.

      June 11, 2011 at 10:42 | Report abuse |
  38. McGreavy

    I've always felt we treat pets better than we do terminally ill people. Why prolong the inevitable and cause people to suffer needlessly? I'm not proposing "death squads". The patient should have the choice. A team of medical professionals should then make final decision.

    June 11, 2011 at 05:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Jake, McKenzie, TN

    Simply put, my body, my life. When I decide that it's time to lay it down, I should have that right without question and without resistance. If a person prefers to live in pain and torment, that too is their right. But only I can choose for me.

    June 11, 2011 at 06:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Anne

    I have to agree when the quality of life is no longer there a person should have a right to end their life. Especially for people who have Lou Gehrig's disease. It must be a very horrible death for them. Also for Alzheimer's people who in the late stages where they are human vegetables. I would say when a person who get"s Alzheimer's in the early stages and know what they are doing could sign something to fact that when they reach the late stages then they could be put to sleep. We should be able to die in dignity and this would certainly be the way to do it. I believe that this is what Dr. Kevorkin was doing.

    June 11, 2011 at 06:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Grumpyoldlady

    While the state has a legitimate interest in making sure the suicide-seeker has not been coerced, pressured or tricked, I don't see where the state has any legitimate interest in forcing an individual to continue to live against his or her will. Life is a RIGHT, not a duty, and we don't force people to exercise any other right – why life? And that's what laws against suicide do: they criminalize the waiving of a right. Don't fall into the booby trap of making it a death-versus-life issue: that's the right wing's tactic of defining the terms and taking over the discourse. There is no death-versus-life issue. Sooner or later we all die. The issue is whether we as individuals own our lives or whether our lives are owned by the state. Laws against assisted suicide only have the unintended consequence of forcing the sufferer to end his own life – before he really wants to and by less humane means – while he still has the physical and mental capacity to do so without assistance. They don't promote "life" at all – only increase suffering.

    June 11, 2011 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Jean

    I'm against my own suicide.
    As for the ones who try, we should at least stop imprisoning them because they fail.

    June 11, 2011 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. MPHKMP

    As someone who has seen a loved one suffer greatly and prolonged death from cancer simply giving them more drugs to end it peacefully would be so nice. I have an MPH and always argue for death with dignity. I have seen too many patients suffer and linger on for weeks. The law is so weird in this case a person can refuse treatment, they can sign a DNR isnt that the same as helping someone die. Its ok for us to pull the plug on a respirator but not aide someone peacefully? Makes no sense to me.

    June 11, 2011 at 09:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Somya

      Nice post. I think it is a good idea to give those who run across a post on your site an easy way to get an good sense of your blog and what beettr way than highlight some great posts. They can take a quick sense which can help them decide if they want to subscribe to your site feed.I think a good place to point to this is in an about section (though some blogs use a new readers notice ). I create a popular category and then tag my most popular posts which I then link to on my about page suggesting that new readers might want to browse that category, for example . Linking to this post would work well for you I think.

      September 11, 2012 at 04:53 | Report abuse |
  44. grim reaper

    Linda. Maybe that's how God wants u to die. And yes. If someone suffers from mental illness and wants to go away they should be helped. In fact they should help everyone for any reason. Noone but the patient understands what's going on and who are we to deny it? What gives us that right?

    June 11, 2011 at 09:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. grim reaper

    In addition, it will help rid the world of a55h0les :). According to many nutjobs, the world population will only be 500m anyways. So let's accelerate the process painlessly 🙂 JK

    June 11, 2011 at 09:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Dan

    After watching a loved one struggle for breath as they lie dying I began to wonder if a heart attack wasn't a better way to go. I think too many in the medical profession just want to prolong the lives of the dying only to suck as much money out of them as they can. It is amazing that once the dying patient runs out of finances how quickly they will let them go.

    June 11, 2011 at 10:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. B. Fargo

    I I strongly support a competent person's right to die with dignity, and to receive medical assistance toward that end when all other reasonable treatments have been examined. How could an enlightened society have any other policy? I do respect that other people have other perspectives about this. But.....their perspectives should not be allowed to drive policy and control how II choose to end my own life. We have free will for a reason.

    June 11, 2011 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. guy

    My wife suffered with Ovarian Cancer Stage three advanced for 2 1/2 yrs before she passed....thank goodness we have great pain management programs...but by 3 days before she passed..she said 'I just want to die now.' I agree it's every individuals' right to die when it comes to terminal situations that cause great pain..

    June 11, 2011 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Sal

    I agree with the author of this article. I remember when my mother was sick at home and she told me "I wish I was dead, because this is no way to live." I told yes I agree, because we shouldn't try to BS anyone by saying, oh you are going to be fine and don't talk like that. They know when the end is near, so don't try to tell them everything is going to be fine, because they know you are lying. I once read that the biggest objection to euthanasia comes from insurance companies, so if you think about it, it's probably true and they advocate against it. 

    June 11, 2011 at 11:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Rick McDaniel

    That SHOULD be a right. It SHOULD be a basic human right, for all.

    When you feel the time has come to exit life, you should have the right to make that decision for yourself, as an adult.

    June 11, 2011 at 11:23 | Report abuse | Reply
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