“Hospice and palliative care is the gold standard,” she told Byock last month. “It’s wonderful. But it’s not a miracle. And it cannot prevent the kind of relentless, dehumanizing, horrific decline that Brittany faces, where her disease will cause unending seizures and headaches and nausea and vomiting and pressure in her brain, and the loss of every bodily function, including thinking and moving.”
Coombs Lee added: “No palliative care, terminal sedation, or promise of effective palliative care can give Maynard the thing she treasures now … the hope of gaining control over her disease before it takes her life.”
Late last month, Maynard took to her blog to address critics.
“I made my decisions based on my wishes, clinical research, choices, discussions with physicians, and logic,” she wrote. “I am not depressed or suicidal or on a ‘slippery slope.’ I have been in charge of this choice, gaining control of a terrifying terminal disease through the application of my own humane logic.” Throughout the past month, she said that was the reason for her campaign — to fight for other terminally-ill patients in states without protections.
Oregon, Vermont and Washington are currently the only three states that have death-with-dignity laws. Two other states, Montana and New Mexico, have court rulings that protect physicians who help patients die. Bills have been introduced in seven other states.
But Caplan believes this is just the beginning.
“Brittany Maynard may change this debate,” he wrote. “My forecast is that we are going to see more push to put these laws in the front of state legislatures and to get them on state ballots. We are going to see more states move in this direction. That intimately may be her legacy to the physician-assisted suicide debate.”