In 1994 Oregon became the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. At the time, only Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands had legalized the practice. 'How to Die in Ore...展开gon' tell the stories of those most intimately involved with the practice today -- terminally ill Oregonians, their families, doctors, and friends -- as well as the passage of an assisted suicide law in Washington State.
As medical technology has extended the human life span far beyond what many believed possible only decades ago, a growing number of people face the dilemma of having their lives artificially prolonged beyond a point they regard as necessary or desirable. In 1994, the state of Oregon addressed this issue by enacting the "Death With Dignity Act," which allows terminally ill patients the right to opt for physician-assisted suicide. Filmmaker Peter D. Richardson looks into the philosophical and practical implications of this law in the documentary How To Die In Oregon. Richardson features interviews with journalists, lawyers and physicians as they talk about the efforts to legalize physician-assisted suicide, as well as patients and their families as they struggle with the decision of just when is the time to say they've lived long enough, with a special focus placed on Cody Curtis, a woman in her mid-50s fighting an uphill battle with liver cancer. How To Die In Oregon received its world premiere at the 2011 South by Southwest Film Festival.
In 1994, Oregon became the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. As a result, any individual whom two physicians diagnose as having less than six months to live can lawfully request a fatal dose of barbiturate to end his or her life. Since 1994, more than 500 Oregonians have taken their mortality into their own hands.
In this acclaimed documentary, filmmaker Peter Richardson gently enters the lives of the terminally ill as they consider whether-and when-to end their lives by lethal overdose. At the heart of the film are the patients themselves, their families and friends, as they grapple with the legal option they are allowed in Oregon. Through their stories, Richardson examines both sides of this complex, emotionally charged issue. What emerges is a life-affirming, staggeringly powerful portrait of what it means to die with dignity.