July 4, 2022

Doco about right to die in Oregon wins prestigious prize

54-year-old woman doesn’t want to be a burden

 

“How to Die in Oregon,” an film about the
impact of Oregon’s 1994 Death With Dignity Act, has won the prestigious
Grand
Jury Prize in the US Documentary Competition at the 2011 Sundance Film
Festival.

It opens with cancer patient Roger Sagner drinking a lethal
drug surrounded by friends and family and it includes an interview with
Randy
Stroup, an uninsured cancer patient who was offered death with dignity
by the
Oregon Health Department as a low-cost end-of-life option.

The documentary focuses on 54-year-old wife
and mother Cody Curtis, who is
suffering from liver cancer. After an unsuccessful 9-hour operation, she
decides that she does not want to linger on as a burden on her family.
Although
she sets the date of her death for Memorial Day (in May), she feels
reasonably
well and defers it until December 7.

“The
film becomes a story of this extraordinary period when she’s
contemplating what
life means to her, how she’s going to spend those last 10 months,” says
director Peter Richardson. “She’s constantly making this assessment of
how do I
want to live this day and do I want to be here tomorrow. Those are very,
very
profound questions.”

Michael Cook
assisted suicide
euthanasia
Oregon