Affidavit of Jane Doe
IN THE SUPERIOR COURT FOR THE STATE OF ALASKA
THIRD JUDICIAL DISTRICT AT ANCHORAGE
AFFIDAVIT OF JANE DOE
JANE DOE, M.D. upon oath and being first duly sworn, deposes and states:
1. I am a Plaintiff in the above-captioned matter, am competent to testify, and do so of my own personal knowledge.
2. Jane Doe is not my real name. I use this fictitious name in this lawsuit to protect my privacy.
3. I am a physician in my sixties. I have been married for six years to my current husband. I have one grown child and two grandchildren. I practiced medicine for more than 20 years, until my illness, metastastic adenocarcinoma of the breast, forced me to end my practice.
4. I discovered a lump in my left breast in 1977. It was determined to be malignant and I had surgery to remove that breast. I subsequently underwent surgery to remove my right breast, which was determined not to contain any malignant cancer cells.
5. A recurrence of the cancer was diagnosed in 1989. The cancer had spread to my ribs and was later present in multiple skin lesions as well. By 1998 the cancer had also spread to my liver and bones throughout my body. I have received both radiation and chemotherapy.
6. I have experienced a wide variety of symptoms of my illness and many side effects from the various treatments. I have had chronic excruciating pain in my limbs, which at times prevents me from moving or even sitting in an unsupported manner. This is a burning pain, like boiling water is being poured on my body. I have also had recurring episodes of terrible chest pain. My bones have become fragile as the cancer weakens them and they often break, causmg severe pain. I have suffered severe edema, one side effect of various medications that I am treated with, causing my body to swell grossly with fluid. I have had obstruction of the bowel, necessitating a hemicolectomyin 1998. Sometimes the pain is so severe that it prevents me from sleeping, and on several occasions I have fainted and subsequently regamed consciousness to find that fortunately I was uninjured. I am constantly plagued with fatigue. My bodily functions and integrity have diminished over time, leaving me unable to engage in most of the activities I enjoy.
7. In the 20 years since I was initially diagnosed with cancer, I have sought and received aggressive comprehensive medical care to attempt to cure the cancer and to treat and relieve the pain and other symptoms caused by the cancer. I believe that this is especially so because I am a physician, and thus have extensive knowledge of medicine which has enabled me to actively seek excellent medical treatment.
8. I believe that I have received good medical treatment and have benefited from it. Based on the advice of my doctors I am in the terminal phase of this disease. Palliative care is still able to eliminate my frequent and severe pain. Although my pain has lessened since treating with chemotherapy in the last year, my past pain was so severe that the amount of medication necessary to gain relief robbed me of an alert state. While medications are presently useful in providing relief, it is anticipated that the effectiveness will diminish with time because of the ascendant progression of the disease.
9. At the point at which I can no longer endure the pain, suffering, loss of bodily function and integrity associated with my cancer I want to have available to me medication prescribed by my physician that I can self administer to bring about a humane and peaceful death. Having this option would be of enormous comfort to me. I do not know for I if I will come to exercise this option, however, doing so would be consistent with my values and beliefs as an individual. I believe that no decision can be more profoundly personal than this one or more central to my personal dignity and autonomy.
10. As a physician who has a fierce motivation for survival, I have participated in aggressive management of my disease. I am not interested in an early death as I wish to prolong my life and its quality. However, when the end approaches I need to have available to me the means to avoid needless additional suffering.
11. I am mentally competent. While I certainly experience sadness and grief that my life is being cut short by cancer, I have no current or historical mental health problems that would impair my decision-making powers regarding my medical care, including end-of-life decisions.
FURTHER YOUR AFFIANT SAYETH NAUGHT.
SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO before me this 14th day of December, 1998.
This article was provided by Compassion in Dying. It is a part of the publication Compassion in Dying.