A California mom wants to die, and is fighting for the right to end her life on her own terms.
Christy O’Donnell suffers from IV lung cancer and is considered terminally ill. O’Donnell was diagnosed with cancer last year, and despite intense rounds of chemotherapy, the cancer has moved to her brain, spine, ribs and liver. Now, doctors have given Christy, who used to be a Los Angeles Police Department sergeant, an estimated six months to live.
In an emotional video, put together by Compassion and Choices, O’Donnell speaks on her request to end her life. The immense amount of pain she will experience during the next several months is simply too much for her to bare and she doesn’t want her 20-year-old daughter to come home to find her dead, or watch her suffer until the end.
“I spend an inordinate amount of time being afraid of the pain that I’m going to endure,” O’Donnell said. “All of that time that my mind spends thinking about that, I am not living.”
“If I get to a hospital, they’ll very painfully put a tube in. They’ll drain the fluid from my lung, only to patch me up, send me home and wait until the next time my lung fills up with fluid.
“And then I’ll continue to repeat the process of drowning painfully until I die.”
O’Donnell said she was inspired by the late Brittany Maynard to reach out to the organization. Maynard and her husband Dan Diaz, moved to Portland, Oregon in 2014 so Brittany could end her life the way she wanted after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
“I have lived an incredible life,” O’Donnell can be heard saying in the video. “I have lived 10 peoples’ lives in my 46 years. I have had the joy of motherhood, which has been the greatest joy in my life. So, because of that, I’m not afraid to die. But not being afraid to die is not the same as wanting to die. I don’t want to die.”
Christy simply wants the choice.
“With a physician-aided death, I would have the choice to seek out and ask a doctor for a prescription, I choose whether to fill the prescription, I choose whether or not to take the prescription, and I choose when to do it, I choose where to do it and with whom to do it.”
Last week, Compassion & Choices filed a suit in California on behalf of O’Donnell and two other people who have terminal or advanced diseases, asking for the law to allow the medical practice of aid in dying.
“Some dying people face unbearable suffering in their final days that even the best hospice and palliative care cannot relieve,” said Compassion & Choices National Director of Legal Advocacy Kevin Díaz. “As Brittany Maynard recognized, these people desperately need the option of medical aid in dying so they can die painlessly, peacefully in their sleep – and they need it now – before it’s too late.”
“The situation is urgent for terminally ill Californians like Christy because they cannot afford to wait for relief from unbearable suffering in their last days,” said Lynette Cederquist, M.D. “We will be requesting expedited review on behalf of Christy because her cancer has spread and causes her more pain and suffering each day,” John Kappos, a Newport Beach-based partner in the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, added.
Do you think Christy should have the right to die on her own terms? Leave your comments below.
[Photo via YouTube screenshot]