Shortly after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2019, architect Brian Ameche, then in his mid-60s, told his wife, novelist Amy Bloom, that he wanted to end life on his own terms, before the disease robbed him of everything.
Last fall, Attorney General John Ashcroft challenged the Death with Dignity Act using the Controlled Substances Act. A federal judge blocked enforcement of Ashcrofts order, and is expected to rule on it sometime this month. We talk with palliative care consultant, Dr. Paul Stull, of Astoria, Ore., who opposes physician-assisted suicide.
Five years ago, Oregon voters passed into law the Death with Dignity Act, legalizing physician-assisted suicide. We talk with oncologist Peter Rasmussen of Salem, Ore., who has prescribed lethal doses of medication for dying patients.
Lonny Shavelson writes about five people who were considering assisted suicide. His book A Chosen Death: The Dying Confront Assisted Suicide explores the agonizing dilemma that family and friends must face in deciding whether to assist. Shavelson argues in favor of legalized Physician-assisted suicide. Shavelson is a writer, photojournalist and emergency-room physician living in Berkeley, California. A Chosen Death is published by Simon and Shuster 1995.
Rollin's 1976 best-selling book about surviving breast-cancer, "First, You Cry," is being reissued. She lost one breast to cancer in 1975; in 1984, she had the other breast removed. Rollin also wrote the book, "Last Wish," about helping her mother -- who was dying from ovarian cancer -- to die.
Biomedical ethicist Arthur Caplan. He discusses the right to die and the implications of doctor-assisted suicide -- specifically how Dr. Jack Kevorkian has been helping patients die. Caplan is Director of Biomedical Ethics and a professor in the Departments of Philosophy and Surgery at the University of Minnesota.