Illinois Senate Debates ‘Death With Dignity’ Legislation for Terminal Patients

Illinois Senate Debates ‘Death With Dignity’ Legislation for Terminal Patients

Should those who have only a few months to live be legally allowed to end their lives? It’s a contentious topic now being debated in Springfield.

Senators in Illinois are now working on legislation that would allow “Death with Dignity” for patients with specific illnesses. Deb Robertson of Lombard was diagnosed with a rare cancer two years ago, which her doctor has deemed terminal. Her last wish is to die with dignity, surrounded by loved ones, and, most importantly, without unnecessary suffering.

A straightforward request, but one that cannot be granted under existing Illinois law. To achieve her request, Robertson must now travel to states where medical help in dying is legal.

Typically, two doctors agree that a patient has six months to survive. The patient must first make two vocal requests, followed by a written request with witnesses. Following that, they must see a doctor three times. Finally, the patient is responsible for taking their meds. They would quickly lose consciousness and die within a few hours.

Robertson has indicated that she is not afraid of death, but rather of how she will die.

“But I’m a little afraid of how I’m going to die, what it’s going to look like,” she told me. “When the doctors tell me that I’m a miracle and that I’m still alive, I believe there’s a reason for that, and I still have some unfinished business.” And I believe part of that stems from my desire to strongly advocate for medical aid in dying. That’s my current passion. That’s something I truly believe in.”

Currently, only Washington, DC, and eight states allow medical help in dying. If the measure passes in Illinois, there will be some safeguards.

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