Dying for Control – Natural process

There’s a natural process to death that assisted suicide may cut short. In her book On Death and Dying (MacMillan, 1969), Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross devotes a chapter to each stage of dying: denial, anger, bargaining, depression (when the dying patient is most susceptible to assisted suicide), and finally acceptance.

Dr. Kubler-Ross concludes that “. . . depression is necessary and beneficial if the patient is to die in a stage of acceptance and peace” (p. 88). Her research found these stages evident in all terminally ill patients, so today’s concern about dying patients choosing suicide during the depression phase is real. Members of Human Life of Washington insist that “those who are depressed, in pain or feel they are a burden are particularly at risk. . . . What they need is better care, not a lethal injection” (press release, 3/7/96).

Kimn Swenson Gollnick