History

November 11, 2014:  Ohio resident, Lisa Vigil Schattinger was at her stepfather, Dr. Jack Rowe’s bedside in Oregon when he ended his life legally, using the medication made available through Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act.  Dr. Rowe had been open with family and friends about his terminal diagnosis of Myelodysplastic syndrome, as well as his plan to use Oregon’s law.  Dr. Rowe’s death was peaceful, dignified and exactly as he had planned.  By sharing the family’s experience, Ms. Vigil Schattinger hopes to bring education to Ohio about the value of laws based on Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act.

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Jan Rowe, Jack Rowe, Lisa Vigil Schattinger, Doug Schattinger and son, Christmas 2009.

December 12, 2014:  The Cleveland Plain Dealer published Lisa Vigil Schattinger’s Op-Ed entitled: A loved one ends his life with the help of the Death with Dignity law  (This was also printed in the Medford, Oregon Mail Tribune on 12/17/2014). On January 13, 2015 the Reverend John Tucker, Medford First United Methodist Church, used this as the basis for his sermon entitled, “The Right to Die”:

February 20, 2015: The Columbus Dispatch published Ms. Vigil Schattinger’s Letter to the Editor: Terminally ill deserve ultimate decision

March 5, 2015: Northeast Ohio’s NPR program, The Sound of Ideas features Death with Dignity.  Ms Vigil Schattinger appeared as a guest sharing her family’s story.

March 5, 2015: National organization Compassion & Choices featured Ms. Vigil Schattinger as its Volunteer Spotlight for her activism in Ohio.

March 6, 2015:  Met with 9th District Ohio State Representative, Janine Boyd along with Ms. Vigil Schattinger, Liz Nuechterlein, and others, to raise awareness of Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act and it’s importance for Ohioans.

April 15, 2015: Met with 15th District Ohio State Senate Minority Leader, Charleta Tavares’ Senior Aide, Antwan Booker along with Liz Nuechterlein and Rev. Patricia Shelden to raise awareness of Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act and it’s importance for Ohioans.

April 26, 2015:  Ms. Vigil Schattinger and Rev. Patricia Shelden presented the first public meeting raising awareness of Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act at the First Unitarian Church in Shaker Heights, OH.

May 23, 2015: The Phoenix, Arizona Republic published Ms. Vigil Schattinger’s Op-Ed: Give death the dignity it deserves

September 1, 2015: The Journal of the American Medical Association, A Piece of My Mind, Beliefs, Rowe, III MD,  314(9):877-878. Dr. Rowe’s opinion about “assisted death” was published posthumously, including his call for the American Medical Association to review its’ code of medical ethics.  On a sentimental note: the day that this was published was the day that Rowe’s wife, Jan, and friends had already planned to spread his ashes on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon.

Informal meetings during these activities lead to a dedicated group forming a steering committee for Ohio End of Life Options.  This group is now moving forward to raise awareness about end-of-life options as well as continue the discussion about laws based on Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act.   This education continues through meetings with the medical and political communities as well as Ohioans over all. Ohio End of Life Options is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization.

Background
After growing up and graduating from college in Oregon, Lisa Vigil Schattinger worked as a medical assistant in an internist’s office in Eugene. Her mother was a nurse and medical issues were always topics of conversation. Her aunt had battled breast cancer and that experience had left Lisa with a lasting concern about the quality of life and death. Since the first legislative attempt in Oregon in 1990, the debate about physician-assisted death was everywhere in the media. Derek Humphry, founder of the Hemlock Society in America and author of Final Exit, lived in Eugene and was the voice of the aid-in-dying movement. Sadly, Lisa’s aunt, Connie, was diagnosed with a second case of breast cancer from which she died in 1995. Connie was under hospice care but died without other options. The Death with Dignity Act was passed in 1994 by voters and then survived at attempt to defeat it by a larger voter margin (60% to 40%) in 1997.

Northeast Ohio History:
In 1905 and 1906, Ohio legislators introduced bills legalizing euthanasia. These were defeated. No other legislation has been proposed since.

In the past, Hemlock Society was active in Northeast Ohio but split in 2003 to become Compassion & Choices, led by Barbara Coombs Lee, and Final Exit Network, led by Derek Humphry. A chapter of the national organization Compassion & Choices was active in Northeast Ohio until 2011. The departure of both organizations left a void in Northeast Ohio for providing education about end-of-life options.