Affidavit of Kevin Sampson
IN THE SUPERIOR COURT FOR THE STATE OF ALASKA
THIRD JUDICIAL DISTRICT AT ANCHORAGE
AFFIDAVIT OF KEVIN SAMPSON IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
I, KEVIN SAMPSON, upon oath and being first duly sworn, depose and state as follows:
1. I am a plaintiff in the above-captioned matter, am competent to testify, and do so of my own personal knowledge.
2. I am 43 years old, and am a retired auditor. I received my undergraduate accounting degree from, the University of Alaska, Anchorage in May 1984, and received a master's degree in business administration in December 1989. I served eight years in the Air Force in an accounting and finance office. After college I worked as an auditor for the State of Alaska, Department of Revenue, Income and Excise Audit Division.
3. In 1985 I was diagnosed as being HIV positive. I believe that I became HIV positive shortly after leaving the Air Force in 1981. I was diagnosed with AIDS in January 1992, based on having pneumocystis pneumonia, an Al DS-defining opportunistic infection. In January of 1993 my T-cell count was 11 per cubic milliliter. This is a fraction of one percent of a normal immune system of about 800 T-cells per cubic milliliter. Today my count is 1.
4. Since receipt of the AIDS diagnosis I have experienced two other opportunistic infections, described below:
The second infection was bordatella bronchiseptica, or known by veterinarians as "kennel cough." I am one of the few known human transmissions of kennel cough. It resulted from adopting a half-dead dog from the pound that began exhibiting classic signs of kennel cough the next day. I had never heard of kennel cough being a danger to people with AIDS, so I kept the dog and treated him with Robitussin. The dog recovered, but I developed the cough. Kennel cough is excruciating to witness and experience. My bronchial tubes caved in and left me unable to breathe. The cough is a reflex to keep from suffocating. My cough was so harsh it triggered a gag reflex, which caused me to vomit repeatedly. I lost 30 pounds over four month's time. For nearly all that four months I was treated at home wit three daily IV antibiotics (2 or 3 kinds at once) and a nebulized dose of another antiblofic. I was hospitalized twice. Eventually it abated.
5. Efforts to stop the advance of AIDS have been exhaustive but, unfortunately, unsuccessful. The barrage of medical treatments has caused numerous significant side effects including chronic diarrhea associated with medications. The protease inhibitor drugs have failed to produce any sustained beneficial result for me. I have explored all available options relating to this class of drug as well as other classes of drugs. I must have a shunt in my kidney (resulting from a birth defect that manifested itself during treatment of the kennel cough) replaced every four to five months. Normally this can be corrected by surgery, but I am not expected to live through such a procedure, so I have the shunt replaced regularly. The implantation of the shunt is accomplished through my penis. The shunt relieves the severe pain, but leaves me with an urgency to urinate that is painful in itself, embarrassing when I am unable to control it, and leaves me prone to bladder infections requiring antibiotic treatment with medications that I do not tolerate well.
6. I have received treatment for skin problems associated with AIDS, including cancer, my liver is enlarged resulfing from all the prescribed medicines, and I experience painful neuropathy of my feet. I experience increasingly frequent sinus infecfions that are untreatable due to drug allergies and/or dangerous to treat. My body has wasted to the point where I have zero body fat and some muscle loss. This forced me to give up my favorite exercise, swimming, because the cold water was intolerable to my emaciated frame. I am chronically fatigued and have no appetite. Most medications to suppress my nausea do not work. My viral load is at 299,000, combined with other infections. I need to consume some I0,000 calories per day to just maintain weight, which is an impossible task consuming my every waking hour. Parenteral nutrition would destroy my liver even further, and would interfere with my sleep due to the frequency of the need to unrinate, exacerbating an already serious problem with fatigue.
7. The pain associated with my condition is significant and vaned. When my kidney is blocked by a clogged shunt I experience severe pain. The urgency for urination is painful and chronic. My repeat sinus infecfions make it painful to even move my head. The neuropathy of my feet is increasingly painful.
8. I take a variety of medications to manage pain. There is a tension between taking enough medication to alleviate the pain and retaining an alert mental state. It is impossible to accomplish both a pain free state and maintain an alert mental state.
9. Side effects of drugs that I take include bone marrow suppression, kidney toxicity due to cydofovir, diarrhea, bladder infections resulting from the shunt, diabetes resulting from the protease inhibitor class of drugs, and painful bloafing resulting from anti-diarrhea medications. Virtually every helpful medicine creates some counter problem that slznificantlv affects my abaity to function.
10. From the time I was diagnosed with AIDS to the present I have pursued medical treatment. I believe that I have received good medical treatment and have benefited from much of it. At this point it is clear to me, and based on the advice of my doctors, that I am in the terminal phase of this disease. It has been explained to me and I understand that there are no cures. The sole medical treatment available to me is palliative, which is not able to eliminate my frequent and severe pain, or loss of bodily function and integrity.
11. My life partner, Dyer Downing, was an IV care nurse. He died a long, slow, tortuous death that took over a year. I had to help him to the bathroom or carry him to the shower after incidents of incontinence. He hated this loss of personal dignity. I heard his moans night after night, knowing that the pain medications were not working as well as his doctors claimed they would. I am not sure why he chose to cling to life when death was certain and suffering was so extreme, but I respected his personal choice on this profoundly personal matter, just as I respected the similar choice made by an AIDS patient that I cared for while working as a volunteer with the Chicken Soup Brigade in Seattle.
12. 1 knew some of Dyer's patients and was aware that some hastened their own death. Dyer would often give detailed instrucfions about "what not to do" so as to not hasten death. I believe he knew full well that the patients or their partners might accidentally attempt such a procedure when he left the room. Dyer cannot be prosecuted today, but this wink and a nod method that currently enables some of those who choose to hasten death and avoid continued suffering must not confinue. Assisted death should be done in the light of dav and legal.
13. The major concern of Dyer's patients who did choose to act to bring about a hastened death was not death itself, but the concern that the persons they chose to have at their side might be criminally prosecuted. I have known people that, in order to avoid this risk, have put a gun to their head and pulled the trigger. That violent act is neither peaceful, nor humane, nor dignified, and would be a terrible vision for the survivors. There must be a more humane, peaceful, and dignified way to cross the threshold to death when one is at death's door than violent death.
14. I also worked as a volunteer in a hospice unit. My life partner spent his last three days in a hospice. I would not choose not to be in a hospice at the time of my own death.
15. All of these experiences have lead me to desire to choose the time, manner, and place of my own death when I reach the point at which I can no longer endure the pain, suffering, and/or loss of bodily integrity and function associated with AIDS. At that point I want to have drugs available for the purpose of hastening my death.
16. At the time I act to hasten my death I would like my loved ones to be free to be with me and to provide counseling, emotional support, and any necessary ancillary assistance, such as mixing the drugs to be consumed. I do not want to have to die alone and unsupported. I do not want my loved ones to risk a prison term for standing by me when the time comes for me to cross the threshold to death.
17. I am mentally competent. I have no current or historical mental health problems that would impair my decision-making powers regarding my end of life decisions.
FURTHER YOUR AFFIANT SAYETH NAUGHT.
SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO before me this______day of December, 1998.
This article was provided by Compassion in Dying. It is a part of the publication Compassion in Dying.