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Woman First to Use Washington Suicide Law

Cancer patient, 66, takes lethal dose under Death with Dignity Act
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2009 1:08 PM CDT

(Newser) – A 66-year-old woman became the first to opt for physician-assisted suicide under Washington state’s new death-with-dignity law, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. Suffering from stage 4 pancreatic cancer, Linda Fleming took a lethal dose of medication last night, surrounded by her family, doctor and dog.

“The pain became unbearable,” Fleming said in a statement relayed by an advocacy group. “I’m a very spiritual person, and it was important to me to be conscious, clear-minded and alert at the time of my death.” Fleming’s pain would have worsened dramatically had she not opted to die, said Compassion & Choices of Washington, a key proponent of the measure passed in November. (Read more Washington state stories.)

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