The uncle of Brittany Maynard, the terminally ill cancer patient who committed suicide in November, has spoken out about his niece’s decision.
In an interview with ABC News, Holmes admitted that he’s been pro-life his entire life but Brittany’s decision changed his mind about assisted suicide. He said, “I am all for a person doing what’s right, if they are of sound mind and can figure it out for themselves, they can do it.”
Oddly enough, days after Maynard took the deadly dose of drugs, Holmes underwent a heart transplant to save his life.
Life for Jay Holmes and his wife Becky is filled with uncertainty; it’s always been that way. On Monday, he was recovering inside temporary housing a few feet from Dallas’ Baylor University Medical Center. Doctors want to make sure his new heart takes hold after a transplant that came just days after Brittany Maynard died. He refers to her as his niece.
“It was strange, I could feel something beating in my chest, I could still beat it before,” Holmes said. He said Maynard was, young, adventurous, and full of life.
“Brittany is like, two weeks younger than my daughter,” Becky Holmes said. “We have a daughter that just turned 30, and yes…my heart breaks for her mom.”
Brittany Maynard’s life ended, but days later, Jay Holmes learned his could be saved. Doctors were ready to operate; news the Holmes had waited five months for.
“I was just getting put on the heart list, two days after she passed, so there was a happiness for me, sadness for her and my brother’s family,” Jay Holmes said.
In November, Holmes received a heart transplant but says his heart is still broken. He explained, “My grandfather, on my Dad’s side, committed suicide five years after my grandmother died.”
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That is a childhood memory he can’t help but bring up when he remembers his niece. Holmes said he had been vehemently opposed to assisted suicide for years.
“I am very set in my ways; you could call me a ‘redneck,'” he said.
Holmes concluded, “I have a lot of angst now about the way she ended her life, and I believe that, that is right for some people,” Holmes said.
In October, terminally ill cancer patient, Brittany Maynard, became the face of the assisted suicide movement in our country. Brittany had stage IV glioblastoma multiforme, which is the most deadly form of brain cancer and was given six-months to live.
After her diagnosis, Brittany decided to move from her California home to Oregon so she could have access to lethal drugs to use to take her life. Oregon is one of five states, along with New Mexico, Montana, Washington, and Vermont that allow assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. Tragically, on November 2nd, Brittany legally ended her own life.
However, what many don’t know about the “compassionate” group is that they advocate for the “right to die” for people who are not even terminal. On their website, they promote a practice called VSED, which instructs elderly people to stop eating and taking liquids if they want to kill themselves.
This is already happening in the Netherlands and Belgium where the mentally ill are being euthanized.
Even putting moral, religious, and ethical question aside, supporting assisted suicide has serious ramifications. This is because it goes too far and begs the question, “Where do you draw the line?” If a terminal patient can end their life, why can’t a person who is suffering from a severe handicap? And who gets to decide when it’s a patient’s time to die?
For now, in some U.S. states the prescription is available to qualifying terminally ill patients; but one might argue that clinically depressed patients should have access to the lethal pill because they simply cannot keep going.
For now, the pill is considered “safe” because no one can force you to take it or coerce you into it; but how can the government ensure that this will actually not occur? And for now, the lethal concoction is a “choice” for patients who are sick and want to end their life. Simply put, there are not enough ways to safeguard against abuse of this practice and it completely goes against the medical profession which vows to “do no harm.”
Ultimately, “Death with Dignity” is a step toward an ugly future, which includes killing unwilling victims because it is a “kind and merciful” act. It includes patients who are suffering with mental illness killing themselves with the help of doctors; and it includes the handicapped, elderly and sick being taken advantage of by others who wish for their demise.
In Oregon, depressed people have died by assisted suicide, and patients, who were denied medical treatment, were steered to assisted suicide by the state health plan. Oregon resident Jeanette Hall, who was terminally ill and wanted assisted suicide, is alive today because her doctor convinced her to try medical treatment.
Watch the video below to see the interview with Holmes.