NOTE: If you are uncomfortable with death, you may not want to watch the clip above. If you do watch, you may need some tissues.
On October 27, 1997, Oregon became the first state in the US to legalize physician-assisted suicide. Since the law’s passing, more than 500 Oregonians have chosen to die with dignity.
Roger Sagner became the 343rd person to end his life by means of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act.
The clip above is the opening footage of the documentary How to Die in Oregon. It shows Sagner, an elderly man who was suffering from an advanced stage of cancer, impatiently insisting that he be given a lethal dose of drugs.
From an outsider’s perspective, it may be upsetting to watch someone willingly choose this end-of-life care option. But for Sagner, saying goodbye to this world was the most sensible thing to do given the circumstances.
Before being handed the milky concoction of crushed up Seconal, a barbiturate which is usually prescribed to treat insomnia or make patients feel sleepy before surgery, a physician tries to explain the process — only to be interrupted by Sagner.
“Bring the God damn glass over here,” he demands.
That’s when the physician gives him the option to change his mind, and makes sure he knows what the mixture will do. To which he replies, “it will kill me and make me happy.”
After swallowing the medication, he thanks his family and “the voters of the state of Oregon for allowing me the honor of doing myself in at my own volition to solve my own problems.”
His final words before taking his last breaths? “It was easy, folks. It was easy.” Within a matter of minutes, he falls into a coma.
The beautifully honest film forces viewers to confront one of the most controversial topics of our time: whether or not people should be legally allowed to end their own lives.