A terminally ill cancer patient recently held a suicide party, taking his own life as his family gathered around, and photos of the tragic final moments have now been published. According to the Daily Mail, 75-year-old Robert Fuller was diagnosed with a very aggressive type of cancer, and rather than going through treatment he decided to invoke Washington's "death with dignity" law, and end his life on his own terms. For his final day on Earth, Fuller married his partner Reese Baxter-Fuller and spent time with friends. The images that were shared by the Daily Mail, show Fuller in bed after taking a cocktail of sleeping pills and Kahlua.
Washington is one of nine states that have "death with dignity" laws, and they require multiple steps before someone is allowed to take that measure. The other eight states are California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Maine, Vermont, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia.
Per the Daily Mail, Fuller was required to make two oral requests to separate doctors, both of whom had to provide written permission that they approved his decision. He then had to find a pharmacy that would be willing to fill the order for the lethal sleeping pills that would allow him to pass away peacefully. The outlet notes that this prescription costs around $400 without insurance.
After a day of time spent with those closest to him, Fuller injected the lethal mixture of alcohol and sleeping pills into his feeding tube, and passed away quietly in his bed.
According to the Death with Dignity non-profit organization, the law after which they are named allows "mentally competent, terminally-ill adult state residents to voluntarily request and receive a prescription medication so they can die in a peaceful, humane manner in a place and time of their choosing."
The first state to pass the law was Oregon, where voters approved the statue in the mid-'90s. More than a decade later, in 2008, Washington state residents voted in the law.
The organization also clarifies, "You must also be able to self-administer and ingest the prescribed medication. All of these requirements must be met without exception. You will not qualify under aid-in-dying laws solely because of age or disability."
Additionally, the groups add that "there is no minimum length-of-residency requirement. You must simply be able to prove you are a current, bona fide resident of one of these states or the District of Columbia."