In 1997 Oregon legalized physician-assisted suicide and called the initiative the Death With Dignity Act. At the time of filming, the state of Washington had passed a similar to take effect in March of 2009. Rules are supposed to safeguard the process: the patient must be told by two doctors he or she has only six months to live; the patient must be evaluated to rule out depression; and the patient must take the lethal drugs orally and on his or her own.
For this episode, host Brad Mattes interviewed five people who all are involved with the Death With Dignity Act. Each has a different perspective on the legalization of physician-assisted suicide but they have one thought in common: there is nothing undignified about dying naturally, and the moment a physician becomes an agent in a patient’s death is the moment the medical system begins to weaken.