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Discussion on TV of the helium hood method

Another sign of the public acceptance of assisted suicide for the terminally ill was a unusual scene on Monday, 20 May 2013, in the successful series program “The Big C” shown on the Showtime television channel in America and internationally.
This was the closure of the fourth and final season when the main character, played by Laura Linney as Catherine “Cathy” Jamison, who has been diagnosed with terminal (stage IV) melanoma several years previously, faces her end. She is now in hospice, which she loves and admires.
As she prepares to die, Cathy has a discussion of people round her bedside of the ways to accelerate death. There is a serious discussion of using a lethal overdose and then the helium hood method is considered in detail, using two tanks. Cathy remarks that it is not very dignified to have to put a plastic bag over one’s head but she does not dismiss the idea.
Then follows an unrealistic scene where somebody says that a doctor in Oregon will supply the lethal drugs provided somebody will fly from the east coast to get them. Cathy asks her brother to go for the drugs but he avoids this request. (It is most unlikely that any doctor in Oregon would do this; it would jeopardize his medical license.)
The character Cathy dies soon after from a natural cause.
The Big C is a Showtime original television series created by Darlene Hunt. It is a very tasteful and sincere program looking at the realities of death and dying. Taking in the self-deliverance option added to its significance.
—– Derek Humphry, author, Final Exit, and How to Make Your Own Helium Hood Kit

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