April 24, 2024

Till death do us part: Couple die together in Oregon

A controversial new documentary tells the story of a couple who took lethal medication together.

A controversial new documentary has been released in the US telling the story of an Oregon couple who took their own lives via lethal medication in April 2017.

The documentary recounts the story of Charlie and Francie Emerick, 88 and 87 respectively, who last year applied to the Oregon Health Authority for a lethal prescription after being diagnosed with terminal illnesses. Charlie was suffering from advanced Parkinson's Disease, and Francie had battled for several years with lymphoma.

The Emericks died at home in April 2017, surrounded by family. They had been married for 66 years.

“They were each other‘s best friend,” Jerilyn Marler, their eldest of the couple’s three children, told reporters. “In their last years, Dad was Mom’s eyes and Mom was Dad’s ears. It was natural for them to want to die together”.

The documentary presents the couple’s decision in a very favourable light, though some close friends and relatives disagreed. Bioethicist Thaddeus Mason Pope speculated that they may have been the “first couple” to take their lives together under Oregon’s Death with Dignity law. Nearly 1,300 people have died in Oregon via lethal prescription since the enactment of the law in 1997.

Till death do us part: Couple die together by AS in Oregon
Xavier Symons
Creative commons
assisted suicide