HBO Max’s “A Thousand Fangs” director Jaime Osorio Márquez died by assisted suicide in Colombia on December 23, 2021, after a years-long fight with kidney cancer. He was 46 years old. His producing partner and friend, Federico Duran, reportedly communicated that Osorio was compelled to end his life before he became a burden on his family due to his deteriorating health and growing intolerance of pain medications.
Sadly, feeling like a burden on family and caregivers is one of the top five reasons patients turn to assisted suicide in the United States. Oregon data shows that the other most common reasons besides feeling like a burden are feeling loss of autonomy, feeling loss of dignity, losing control of bodily functions, and being less able to participate in activities that make life enjoyable. Patients turn to assisted suicide because of inadequate pain control or the fear of it less than thirty percent of the time.
Many people use assisted suicide to kill themselves because they feel like a burden on their loved ones, but how many communicate that to their family members? Assisted suicide legislation does not require family notification. How tragic that patients are killing themselves without their caregivers ever even knowing or being given the chance to dispel that fear?
Additionally, American assisted suicide laws are dangerous because young people like Jaime, only 46 years old, are not guaranteed hospice because of their age. Without the multidisciplinary support hospice provides the options are limited, and patients may feel they have no other choice but to end it. How can we talk about the legalization of assisted suicide when we haven’t guaranteed the care that people need and deserve?
Read more: The Real Debate on Assisted Suicide