George Eighmey, the father of physician-assisted suicide in Oregon, spoke yesterday at a conference in Yakima, and concluded his very sober presentation with two stories, both about his experiences sitting with patients just before they died from lethal medication. Physician-assisted suicide is legal in Oregon, and in case you missed it, it's on the ballot this election here in Washington state.
One patient, a very objective, unemotional engineer, took the medication, then told George that he wanted to tell him a joke. George was surprised and told him he'd have to tell it fast, because he would be falling unconscious shortly. So the man said he'd asked his seer to investigate the next world and report back on whether there is golf in heaven (since the man loved golf). The seer reported back and said, "I have good news and bad news." At this point, George was very anxious that the man was going to waste his last moments on a joke he'd never finish. The man continued. "The good news is that heaven is full of golf courses. The bad news is that your tee time is in five minutes." He became unconscious moments after that.
The second story was that George received a call from the very distraught wife of a man who was due to take his lethal medication and was waiting for George to arrive. She called George and said her husband wanted her to shoot him, and she would because he was in great pain, unless George arrived very soon, so he could take his medication with George as the witness. So George rushed over. When he got to the house, he saw that the man was on a long oxygen tether. In his rush to get to the man's bedside, he accidentally stepped on the oxygen line. When he did, the oxygen was temporarily blocked, and the man couldn't breathe for a moment. "So that's how you do it," the man gasped.
Eighmey, some of have noted, bears a distinct resemblance to Vincent Price.