She doesn’t want to die, but now that her terminal lung cancer has spread to her brain, a single mom from California is fighting for the right to end her own life.
Christy O’Donnell, a Los Angeles attorney and a former police officer, says she has exhausted all medical options in her battle against Stage IV lung adenocarcinoma. The cancer has now masticated into a golf ball-sized tumor in her brain.
She has survived the six-month life expectancy she was given when diagnosed last June, but the 46-year-old has been told that her death is near and will be painful. As Christy’s lungs continue to fill with fluid, it will inevitably drown her. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. Christy O’Donnell pictured with her daughter Bailey.
The most likely way that I’m going to die with the lung cancer is that my left lung will fill with fluid, I’ll start drowning in my own fluid.
If I get to a hospital, they’ll very painfully put a tube in. They’ll drain the fluid from my lung, only to patch me up, send me home and wait until the next time my lung fills up with fluid.
And they’ll continue to repeat that process and drowning painfully until I die.
2. Christy O’Donnell was an LAPD detective and has investigated hundreds of suicides.
Christy, a 46-year-old single mother from Santa Clarita, California, is fighting for the right to die on her own terms.
She is following in the footsteps of Brittany Maynard, who moved from California to Oregon after being diagnosed with a terminal brain cancer, so she could legally end her life with a medication prescribed by a doctor.
A right-to-die bill has been proposed in California’s legislature, but Christy doesn’t believe it will be passed in time for her.
On Friday, she joined a group of terminal patients to sue California officials in an attempt to get the right to die sooner.
3. Brittany Maynard (pictured) moved from California to Oregon — one of five U.S. states where terminally ill patients are legally allowed to kill themselves — to take her own life in November.
But there is plenty of opposition. In a statement in response to O’Donnell’s suit, Californians Against Assisted Suicide spokeswoman Marilyn Golden, a senior policy analyst for the Disability Rights Educational and Defense Fund, said:
The question of assisted suicide policy needs to be considered in terms of how it impacts the broader society, particularly the most vulnerable, without economic means or health access, as well as people living with serious disabilities whose options are often diminished.
These lawsuits and legislation like California Senate Bill 128 are not simply exercises in autonomy for such individuals.
Hopefully our court system and legislators take into account the broader implications, particularly in a state as diverse as California.
This latest effort does not change in the least the aggressive opposition from progressives like myself and a diverse range of organizations against assisted suicide.
4. “Christy O’Donnell… wants the world to know how the lack of end-of-life options in California is affecting her final days.”
The former Los Angeles Police Department detective said she’s not afraid to die, but she doesn’t want her 20-year-old daughter to be traumatized by her death.
Instead, O’Donnell wants to be able to die peacefully in bed, holding her daughter’s hand, knowing that she will be well supported when it’s over. Christy says in her YouTube video:
Every day, when my daughter is coming home from work, she calls me on the phone to talk to me. You know why? She wants to know before she gets home if I’m still alive.
5. A single mom sues California for the right to die.
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