Matt passed away on January 21, and while I miss him more than words can describe, I’m grateful he was given the opportunity to end his suffering. Matt loved life, and at only 52 he didn’t want to die. But after going through nearly a decade of chemotherapy, radiation, hospitalizations and surgeries in a valiant attempt to cure the skin cancer that had spread to her brain, bones and lymph nodes, it was a blessing to give him the opportunity to be home. and take the medication to pass serenely.
Given the difference physician-assisted dying has made to Matt and the unnecessary suffering it has spared him, I hope this option will be available to others as well. Unfortunately, for millions of Americans who depend on federally funded medical insurance and facilities, medical assistance in dying is financially inaccessible, in large part because of a decades-old law that prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for this end of life. choice of care.
But for millions of Americans who depend on federally funded insurance (eg, Medicare, Tricare) and medical institutions (eg, veterans facilities), medical assistance in dying is inaccessible. .
Luckily for Matt, generous friends helped pay our personal expenses of $2,100 for medical assistance in dying, including $1,400 for the doctor visits needed to ensure Matt met the strict criteria in several steps in the law and $700 for death aid drugs.
But not everyone is so lucky, and medical assistance in dying shouldn’t be available to just a select few. Congress has an ethical and moral duty to right this injustice — especially for terminally ill veterans who risked their lives to defend our country and deserve a peaceful death — by repealing the Assisted Suicide Funding Restriction Act.
Having medical assistance in dying for Matt saved him a lot more suffering. He had already suffered so much.
Matt’s amazing friend, Jason Vazquez, an ICU medic who served with him in the Gulf War, aptly told him towards the end of his life, “Matt, there’s just something something better than that.”
Letting someone suffer, like Matt did, is morally wrong. Having seen Matt’s suffering first hand, I think having someone continue to live in such a tortured state is also ethically wrong, and if there is an option to alleviate that suffering, that’s what the person deserves.