Dr Oz: Brittany Maynard Legacy + Suicide Vs Death With Dignity


Dr Oz: Brittany Maynard’s Legacy

Dr Oz was joined by Debbie Ziegler, mother of right-to-die advocate Brittany Maynard, as well as Dr David Grube, the medical director for Compassion and Choices, an organization that advocates for aid in dying. Dr Grube explained that in Oregon, there are five criteria for someone wanting to make a decision like Brittany did as she faced the end of her life.

Dr Oz: Brittany Maynard Legacy + Suicide Vs Death With Dignity

Dr Oz talked to Brittany Maynard’s mom about her daughter’s legacy, and Dr David Grube about the difference between suicide and death with dignity. (Lightspring / Shutterstock.com)


The first and most important criteria is that there’s a terminal diagnosis on the patients and they’re not expected to live more than six months or less, and there is no cure. The person must also be at least 18 years old and a resident of Oregon. Fourth, they must be able to make their own decisions, and they must not be coerced into making the decision.

Dr Grube said that while those are the criteria, there are other factors that come into play as well. Two doctors have to diagnose the patient, meet the patient, and be sure they fulfill the criteria. There’s also a waiting period of two weeks and a written and verbal request as well. Basically they want to make sure there’s no mistake.

Dr Oz: Doctors Supporting Right-To-Die

Dr Oz wondered if allowing someone to make that decision went against the oath of doctors to never let a patient harm themselves. Dr Grube shared a story from when he was first in practice. His neighbor was diagnosed with cancer that eventually, although doctors did everything they could, spread to his bones, and he was suffering terribly. He got a phone call from his neighbor’s son one day. Dr Grube went next door to see him and found that he had taken a shotgun and ended his life. What that experience taught him is that the thing doctors need to do is alleviate suffering.


Dr Oz: Suicide Vs Death With Dignity

Dr Oz then wanted to know how Dr Grube responded to all those people who think death with dignity is glorified suicide. Dr Grube said the medical definition of suicide is taking one’s life. For people who have a terminal diagnosis, their life has already been taken, and there is no option. He said, “Suicide is a permanent answer to a temporary problem,” and people with a terminal illness don’t have a temporary problem.

So what is it about Brittany’s story specifically that has really “struck a chord with America?” Dr Grube said she was a very intelligent person who was young, which was different because most people who choose this are in their 70s or 80s. She was also attractive, which got people’s attention, but he said it was her charisma that really touched people.

Dr Oz: Death With Dignity Campaign

Brittany Maynard launched a campaign to fight for the expansion of death with dignity laws nationwide. Debbie said it’s easy to sign up to help other’s not have to suffer. She said if they can give terminally ill people more options, they can sit down and decide what’s right for them. Brittany made it clear that she wasn’t telling anyone what they should do. She just wanted everyone to have the same options, because she didn’t feel it was right that she had to move to another state to exercise her right.

Debbie said she’ll do anything she can to continue her legacy, because Brittany told her she couldn’t give her a grandchild, but she could give her a legacy for her to work on it if she chose to. Debbie said she thinks Brittany would be proud of her, and she’s very proud of Brittany.

Dr Oz: Brittany Maynard’s Wishes

Dr Oz then showed a clip of an online message Brittany shared, one of her last, commenting on her decision to take her own life. In the video, Brittany shares that she wants her mother to recover from the event, and not break down or become depressed. She wanted her husband to be happy and have a family.



  1. Barbara Smith says

    You asked so I am responding. No one has the right to take their own life, and this is why: “Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom ye have of God, and you are not your own. In other words you have no rights to your life when you belong to God. For you are bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which belongs to God” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. I cannot relate to extreme pain but I have a Christian friend who has so much pain, she has to take pain meds intravenously every week and will have to increase as time goes on unless the Lord heals her. She also has to work at age 66, 20 hours a week and chooses to acknowledge and surrender her life to God for what He sacrificed to purchase her. It was with his blood–not money–having His hands and feet nailed to a cross naked in front of His own mother, family and many others wearing a crown of thorns. And He did it willingly because He loved the people in this world enough to die for them. John 3:16 The servant is never greater than the Master and if we are going to reign with Him, we must also suffer with Him. I may sound like a martyr but I am not. I simply recognize a sacrifice of love that He made; and the least anyone can give in return is the “surrender” of a life that was purchased with blood. The way a person endures the pain and hardship is the same way Christ did. “For the joy that is set before Him.” And He was referring to His heavenly home where He was headed, sitting at the right hand of the Father, and enjoying all those God had given Him while He was on earth. He never said it would be easy, but as God told Paul, the apostle, in his affliction, when he wanted to be relieved of it, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”

  2. Alberta Pratt says

    If my condition becomes unbearable, I would like to have the option to decide if I was ready to die or not. Since I don’t live in a state that gives me that option, I think it should be in every state as to what you decide to do with your life and death.

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