KINGSTON, N.J., April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The debate over physician-assisted suicide and the right of incurably suffering people to end their own lives has again been brought to national attention by the HBO premiere of "You Don't Know Jack," on the HBO pay-channel, April 24th. The film is based on the book "Between the Dying and the Dead: Dr. Jack Kevorkian's Life and the Battle to Legalize Euthanasia," by Neal Nicol and Harry Wylie.
Jerry Dincin, president of Final Exit Network (FEN), urges watching (or taping!) this important movie: "While the right to die exists for residents in Oregon, Washington, and Montana, most states still have laws specifically against assisted suicide. Regulators in many parts of the country have ramped up efforts to restrict the right to die with dignity. Groups that simply provide information and counseling have come under the gun-sights of zealots, and a witch-hunt has ensued."
The needs of mentally competent, suffering patients who have not been declared "terminal" (having fewer than six months to live) have especially not been addressed. "Non-terminal" is an awesome designation when accompanied by the diagnosis of a lethal disease, in spite of the phrase's encouraging sound. It means that for that patient, a process has already begun: a deadly, inexorable deterioration that will likely multiply exponentially past the limit of most human beings to endure. Its merciful end is death, though that destination lies currently off the map. Quality of life for these people is a distant memory; all that remains is the reality of an indefinite and hopeless future. Dincin says, "Our organization is their only advocate."
Advances made in medicine over the last 50 years have been astonishing. Thanks to sophisticated new technologies and treatments, diseases once considered death sentences are now manageable conditions. The progress is often, however, a mixed blessing. Doctors' once-revered vow to keep patients alive - no matter what - often results not in extending life but extending death. Perpetuating "life" in a nightmare of powerlessness, constant pain, social isolation, and mental deterioration is tantamount to torture.
FEN is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to counseling, support, and guidance for those clients, who themselves choose the when, how, under what circumstances, and especially IF, to proceed. Dincin stresses that "FEN does not encourage anyone to end their life, does not provide the means to do so and does not actively assist in the person's death. We do, however, believe in the ultimate human right of people to end their lives when circumstances justify, and to have support in carrying out their plan," said Dincin.
Final Exit Network is a five-year-old non-profit run exclusively by volunteers that is committed to serve many whom other organizations may turn away. More information is available from their Web site: http://www.finalexitnetwork.org
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SOURCE Final Exit Network