The death of Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old terminally ill woman who took her own life on November 1st utilizing Oregon’s “Death with Dignity” law, is not just a personal tragedy, but also one for the institution of medicine at large. The CBC has long been one of the most vocal opponents of physician-assisted suicide, and we’ll continue in this fight as long as necessary.
That’s why we applaud the example of Maggie Karner who, like Brittany, has also been diagnosed with glioblastoma. Karner is a wife and mother of three who has chosen to live out her life and die naturally, spending whatever time she has left enjoying her family, learning to accept suffering, and embracing the outpouring of the kindness of others that have flocked to her aid during this time.
In a recent interview with CNN (link to video), she offered several gems of wisdom:
My concern is having one person in Oregon in a very tragic situation, laid out before the country and the world actually, as an example of a common situation, that’s not a good way to develop public policy.
She goes on to say:
I would like to have a good public policy discussion with accurate vocabulary. I know Brittany doesn’t like the term, she didn’t like the term, suicide, but that’s quite literally what she did. She took the pills herself and so she took her own life, which is the definition of suicide. And I know that word has a lot of baggage and we don’t like that, but if we’re going to have a public policy discussion about this, we need to use the same lexicon or vocabulary and talk about this in a way that’s unbiased.
At the CBC, we applaud Karner’s strong example for resisting the attempts to cover up the grave realities of physician assisted suicide which many of its advocates aim to downplay—but also offering the world not just a better example of how to die, but how to live. Brava!