Strange Deathbedfellows

Hastings Center Report 40 (5):3-3 (2010)
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Abstract

In 1998 I was hired by a local health care system to evaluate the mental health of enrolled patients who requested lethal prescriptions under Oregon's newly implemented Death with Dignity Act. I drove to the trailer home of my first patient, a man in his sixties tethered to an oxygen tank for his chronic pulmonary disease who was recently diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. He told me about his abusive, alcoholic stepfather and how he left his family and church at age sixteen, determined never again to be subjugated in any relationship. But in a life marked by an avoidance of intimate relationships, he corresponded regularly with his nephew and was proud to leave him a small inheritance. He shared with me his ..

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