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Doctor helps advocate of right to die commit suicide

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — A woman with terminal cancer who campaigned for Oregon’s euthanasia law has committed doctor-assisted suicide by drinking a glass of cranberry juice loaded with barbiturates.

Carolyn Lund, 66, died early Monday morning, her children said — 37 hours after drinking the deadly cocktail at her house in Oregon’s tiny, mid-coastal town of Yachats.

Lund was a reporter for nearly 30 years at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat before she retired in 1992 and headed north. She campaigned for Oregon’s Death with Dignity law, enacted in late 1997, after being diagnosed with breast cancer a year earlier.

Eight weeks ago, Lund learned the cancer had spread from her liver to her brain and she decided to take advantage of the law she helped pass.

Although she was lucid, Lund could not walk or move herself from bed.

Doctors gave her about two months to live. Had she allowed the disease to run its course, she would have deteriorated physically and mentally.

“I want to die peaceably and in the presence of my loved ones and in an orderly fashion,” she told the Press Democrat on Saturday before slipping into a deep sleep.

Since the enactment of the Oregon law, more than 70 terminally ill patients have ended their lives through doctor-assisted euthanasia.

In January, Lund asked her oncologist for an assisted suicide. The doctor challenged her before setting out to meet the required safeguards of the Oregon law.

“He wants to make sure that I am of sound mind,” Lund said, “that I am not being coerced.”