Ohio considers bill to legalize medically-assisted suicide

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Pamela Gredicak has stage 4 pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer. It has spread to her liver.

“There’s no remission for this cancer, there is no cure,” Gredicak said.

Pamela says she is doing everything she can to control the way she lives with the disease. She believes strongly she should also have some control over how she dies.

“I want to live my life the way we chose to until my last moment and then I want to be done. I don’t want to go through the last 3 or 4 months that puts families through agony.”

Pamela is an outspoken advocate for medically assisted death.

State Senator Charleta Tavares of Columbus has introduced legislation to allow mentally competent Ohioans with a terminal condition to request and self-administer a prescribed medication to end their life.

The bill is modeled after similar laws in several other states including Oregon which has had a Death with Dignity Act in place since 1997. It would require that a number of conditions are met.

  • The patient must be diagnosed with a terminal condition by the attending physician.
  • The patient must make two oral requests and a written request dated and signed in the presence of two unrelated adults.
  • The patient’s physician must inform the patient of all available treatment options.
  • The patient must request the medication free from any coercion or undue influence
  • If the physician suspects the patient may not be able to make their own heath care decisions, the patient must be referred for psychological evaluation
  • There are two waiting periods – one after the initial verbal request and one after the receipt of the written request by the attending physician.
  • The patient may opt out at any time.
  • No health care professional can be forced to participate.
  • The patient must self-administer the medication.

Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life and a member of the state medical board, says he believes the bill should get a hearing but has no chance of passing.

“You can call this death with dignity but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s suicide and it’s murder by a licensed physician,” Gonidakis said. “We have a super-majority proof pro-life legislature…and we have a pro-life governor who’s 100 percent pro-life too that will oppose this legislation.”

Pamela Gredicak says the bill should resonate with anyone who has seen a loved one go through a painful end-of-life process.

“We’re kinder to our pets than we are to the people we love,” Gredicak said. “You wouldn’t let your pet at home suffer and yet we’re forced to let the people we love suffer. If I can help move this forward in Ohio- then my life has had some meaning and maybe my death.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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