NBC Channel 5 Presents Feature Stories on Act 39 on the Fifth Anniversary of the Law
Vermonters reflect on five-year anniversary of the state's Medical Aid in Dying law.
Tom Ozahowski, is shown walking on a wooded trail near his Thetford home. He made his career at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire where he worked with patients who often stared death in the face.
"People have cardiac arrests and have near death experiences that, it's not everybody, but some of them have had profound situations that have helped me," he said those situations have helped him find peace with his fate.
"I was diagnosed in 2008," Ozahowski said regarding his prostate cancer, which has spread to his bones. "I have no idea exactly whats in store."h
The one thing he does know is how he plans on dying.
"My sons are totally in agreement that I can use Medical Aid in Dying and get a prescription to be self-administered," he said.
Dr. Diana Barnard, with the University of Vermont Medical Center, would like to see more Dartmouth-Hitchcock doctors on board.
The palliative care specialist said most of her patients worry about losing their sense of control, something many wish to gain using Act 39.
"Most people that I talk to don't want to die. They want to live, but they are dying from their underlying illness and we cant stop that," Board Member Dr. Diana Barnard said.
In the past five years, the state's Department of Health said 52 people have qualified to utilize the law, but only 29 people have chosen to end their lives.
"The law itself was really carefully crafted and is working very well," said PCV President Betsy Walkerman, also featured in the story.
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