How To Die In Oregon Reviews
That's due to the intimate nature of the documentary itself that eschews the normal safe route of talking heads and experts and instead spends time with those most affected by the new laws which are now in effect in three states. Of special attention is Cody Curtis, 53, a once active mother of two in Oregon, who was diagnosed with cancer after a grapefruit sized tumor was found in her liver and given only months to live.
As proof against naysayers and critics, "How to Die in Oregon" shows what dying with dignity is not. It is not perfect as a couple of participants talk about being a burden on their families which is actually what they are there for. And it should surprise no one that an insurance company found a way to exploit the law.
Nor is it assisted suicide. Doctors only have to write prescriptions(from $100 to $1,000). As counseled by volunteers from Compassion and Choices, the fatally ill get to choose when they will exit life, not end life(in the words of one participant), and usually in the company of friends and family at home if they so wish. Two questions are asked at the moment of truth: Do you want to change your mind? & What does the medication do? All of which simply reminds us all that death is a natural part of life.
In 1994 Oregon passed the death with dignity law that allows people the right to have doctor prescribed barbiturates to end their life. There is criteria that must be met and the actual death is assisted by trained individuals but administered by the patient himself or herself. As the film starts we see a death carried out. It is sad, unsettling yet oddly peaceful. We then met several other patients who have had their prescriptions filled in case they choose to end their life. We see that it brings each of them a sense of control in an out of control situation.
The last portion of the documentary slowly shifts to following one woman, Cody Curtis as she battles liver cancer. In short Cody is an amazing woman of intelligence, grace and warmth with a loving husband and two children. Cody is amazingly open in discussing her fears, pain, love for her family and her decision to end her life.
Know that this is not an easy viewing experience yet it is rewarding. It will make you think about your own mortality. It will make you examine your perspective on the Death with Dignity law. It will break your heart. I am glad I got to meet Cody and her family through this movie. I would highly recommend this movie to everyone.
As a Christian who believes in individual rights, I am conflicted with the topic: on one hand I believe we should all have the right to choose what we do with our own bodies and in our own homes - so long as we don't hurt another person, hence the ethical problem with abortion; on the other hand, you can clearly see, with Mrs. Curtis, how her inability to deal with manageable pain leads her to committing to ending her life when it wasn't entirely necessary.
The documentary is well-handled, neither supporting or refuting the concept of assisted suicide. The majority of the film was dedicated to Mrs. Curtis' personal decision making and sucked a lot of the energy from the strong start, but I feel it was a good observation into the life of someone who may be the epitome of why assisted suicide should be more tightly regulated.