By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
In an article concerning the opinion of physicians on assisted suicide, Dr Will Johnston, the Chair of EPC - BC comments on the effects of the Brittany Maynard story. Johnston states:
“The social threshold of inhibition against suicide has been steadily eroded by the rhetorical strategy of calling for an endorsement of suicide in hard cases through labeling such endorsement [as] compassionate,” he said. “The Brittany Maynard tragedy is a prime example of this.”
Johnston then comments on how the Maynard story has caused a suicide contagion effect:
“We see how suicide contagion works when the media admire the suicidal person and speak of suicide as a form of heroism,” Johnston said. “I hospitalized a young suicidal patient 10 days ago who told me how he had done an Internet search for suicide drugs after watching the slick video glamorizing Brittany which was produced by the Hemlock Society (now Compassion & Choices).”
The media was irresponsible in how it promoted the Brittany Maynard story.