Dr. Jon LaPook Reports on Aid-in-Dying for 60 Minutes

March 14, 2016

Brittany Maynard was dying of brain cancer when she decided to drink a lethal prescription to end her life. She was just 29 years old. Her decision made her a symbol in the debate about how much we should be able to control the time and manner of our own death.

This is not euthanasia, when a doctor gives a patient a lethal injection. That’s illegal in all 50 states. Aid-in-dying, or what opponents call “assisted suicide” and supporters call “death with dignity,” relies on people taking the medication themselves. Oregon became the first state to legalize it 18 years ago, but because a nurse or doctor is rarely present, it’s remained mostly a private affair, practiced behind closed doors. We wanted to hear from patients and family members who’ve experienced it and are fighting to make it legal nationwide.

Brittany Maynard had been married less than a year when the headaches began. This MRI revealed a deadly mass — it turned out to be brain cancer so aggressive doctors gave her only six months to live… More

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