A new right-to-die organization for the US, named Final Exit Network, was announced September 16th, 2004.A new right-to-die organization dedicated to serving people who are suffering intolerably from an incurable condition was announced today in Marietta, Georgia, USA.
Final Exit Network was founded by a group of dedicated individuals, each of whom has devoted many years to volunteer leadership in the right-to-die movement. Final Exit Network is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to serving people who are suffering from an intolerable condition.
Network volunteers offer services that include counseling, support, and even guidance to self-deliverance at a time and place of a member’s choosing. We will never encourage members to hasten death. “Until laws protect the right of every adult to a peaceful, dignified death, Final Exit Network will be there to support those who need relief from their suffering today!” said Earl Wettstein, President, Final Exit Network.
Final Exit Network goals:
- To serve people who are suffering intolerably from an incurable physical condition which has become more than they can bear;
- To foster research to find new, peaceful ways to self-deliver;
- To promote the use of Advance Directives for Health Care with Durable Power of Attorney; and
- To advocate for individuals whose Advance Directives are not being honored.
People Are Suffering
Every year thousands of competent adults must suffer needlessly, forced to live through a lingering and often painful death. Control, dignity and quality of life are distant memories. All that remains for them is the reality of an indefinite or hopeless future.
Individuals with neurological illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and Alzheimer’s disease often lose the reason and will to live long before their disease qualifies as “terminal.” Others who are facing protracted, losing battles with cancer, stroke, congestive heart failure, emphysema and other incurable conditions yearn for dignified withdrawal rather than clinging desperately to every breath. These individuals are not being served.
Final Exit Network will serve these and many others like them. While we acknowledge the importance of Oregon’s landmark death-with-dignity law, it remains under assault by the US Justice Department, its future uncertain – and it only serves the citizens of one state. We also endorse the valuable work of other organizations in the movement to change the laws and serve a small segment of those in need.
But the harsh facts of political life for the movement’s advocacy organizations inevitably demand compromises that dictate that far too many will slip through the cracks. Final Exit Network will serve those that other organizations turn away.
Numerous polls reveal that 70% or more of Americans support physician assisted dying, yet in state after state Oregon-like laws go down to defeat at the hands of timid legislators who fear the wrath of the religious fundamentalist minority. Final Exit Network will leave the legislative advocacy and litigation to others. Instead, the Network will be there for those who are suffering and desire to plan a hastened death.
Derek Humphry, founder of the Hemlock Society, said, “I believe so much in what they are doing, that I have agreed to let them use the title of my book, Final Exit, as part of their name. I will actively support their goals now and in the future.”
Humphry is the author of best selling books such as Final Exit and Jean’s Way, and a courageous pioneer in the movement. He’s not the creator of Final Exit Network, but he will serve as Chairman Emeritus of Final Exit Network’s Advisory Board.
More about Final Exit Network:
- The Network will embrace a model of volunteer-based support using non-medical means.
- The Network will supply its members with information about all methods of self-deliverance that will produce a peaceful, quick and certain death.
- The Network will build its base on a core group of dedicated volunteers. Network volunteers will be fully trained and ready to serve by January.
- The Network will avoid the expense traps that snare many organizations – large, highly paid staffs and lavish headquarters. Instead its resources will be dedicated to making a peaceful death more accessible members who are suffering with incurable illnesses.
- The Network will be governed by volunteer leaders with a proven record of dedication to choice and dignity at the end of life.
- The Network will support research on advance directives, hospice care, pain management, DNR orders and all other possibilities where people can exercise control at the end of their lives, and it will disseminate this information to members.
- Since medical means of self-deliverance are not available to all, the Network will support research into new technologies for a peaceful self-deliverance.
- Final Exit Network will conduct its activities in compliance with the law.
Call to Action
Final Exit Network is a membership organization. Individuals must join to be eligible for services, and Network members will have a voice in guiding the organization’s priorities. Earl Wettstein, President of Final Exit Network and former President of Arizona’s powerful statewide chapter of the Hemlock Society/End-of-Life Choices, said, “True believers in the right-to-die movement owe it to themselves to join. Our members stand for freedom, independence, and self determination.”
Wettstein adds, “We can’t postpone our deaths while we wait for the laws to change. Final Exit Network members appreciate the confidence of knowing that the Network will be there for them if they need it.” “We urge everyone who has a stake in the death-with-dignity movement to join Final Exit Network. The Network’s goals complement rather than compete with the missions of the movement’s other organizations.” said Wettstein.
“The Network is unfettered by the constraints of ‘political correctness’ that prohibit others from addressing the needs of so many suffering individuals,” Wettstein adds.
To join Final Exit Network, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
. In the body of the email, please include: Full Name, Address, City, ST, Zip, Phone. Confirm preferred email address.
About Final Exit Network
Final Exit Network is a national, nonprofit, 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation, based in Marietta, GA. Gifts and memberships to Final Exit Network are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Website: www.finalexitnetwork.org
Who Is Final Exit Network?
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Earl Wettstein – President, Tucson Senior Caring Friend Volunteer, national Hemlock/EOLC Board member (resigned 2003)
Ted Goodwin Atlanta Caring Friend Volunteer, national EOLC Board member and Treasurer (resigned 2004)
Bob Brush,San Diego Caring Friend Volunteer, state and local chapter leader, national EOLC Board member (resigned 2004)
Jean Gillett, Palo Alto Caring Friend Volunteer, California chapter leader
Dr. Rosalie Guttman, Chicago Illinois state chapter leader
Derek Humphry, Oregon Author, journalist, Founder of the Hemlock Society
Ila DeLuca, Arizona National EOLC Board member, founder of three chapters in two states (resigned 2004)
Ruth von Fuchs, Toronto President, Right to Die Society of Canada
Arthur Metcalfe, San Diego Former Hemlock/EOLC national Board Chairman, former national Treasurer, former California chapter leader, national Board member (resigned 2004)
Andi van de Voort, Honolulu Hawaii chapter leader, prime mover in that state’s near-successful legislative actions.
John Westover, Tucson Former Hemlock national Board Chairman for two terms, founder of the first local chapter in the United States, chapter leader and activist.
Dr. Larry Egbert , Baltimore Senior Caring Friend Volunteer, national EOLC Board member (resigned 2003 before his term began)
Final Exit Network
Earl Wettstein, President
Main Phone Line: (800) 524-EXIT – (800)-524 -3948
Media Contact Information
Earl Wettstein, President
Media Direct Line: 770-312-6340