This article was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette on February 3, 2016.
My name is Dana Palmer. In 2005, I was diagnosed with Glioblastoma-terminal brain cancer. My prognosis was only 3-12 months. Shortly after my diagnosis, my doctor received a form asking, "When will the patient recover sufficiently?" He drew a horizontal line through it, and wrote never!
My experience is similar to that of thousands of Coloradans who every year face terminal diagnoses and the stigma that they don't have a chance to live, and may be better off dead!
Assisted suicide only worsens this stigma.
After surviving my terminal prognosis for 10 years, I heard the story of the young California woman named Brittany Maynard who faced the same disease I did, and at the exact same age. She took her cancer story public, and it was used to headline a national effort to "normalize" assisted suicide. Immediately, she and other assisted suicide supporters sent a message to patients across the country: Assisted suicide is for you" and "There is no reason for hope." This is a very dangerous message for current and future patients!
Assisted suicide supporters call it a "choice," but to people facing a diagnosis like mine it can be interpreted as an obligation since many patients already feel like a burden. At any time after a terminal diagnosis emotions can run wild, and minds often change daily regarding treatment and care. But assisted suicide is final, it's an action that can't be undone. It can leave doctors and loved ones with regrets.