Twelve terminally ill residents of New Jersey put an end to their lives with the help of a physician last year after the Garden State passed a law permitting assisted suicide.
The New Jersey Department of Health released a report on Friday which said that six men and six women between the ages of 50 and 93 took their own lives between August 1 and December 31 of last year.
Nine of those who chose to die through medical aid were diagnosed with cancer and three were stricken with a neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
One of those who died also had a pulmonary disease and another suffered from gastrointestinal disorders.
According to the report, ten died in their own home and one died at a nursing home. Another died in another home.
Zeporah ‘Zebbie’ Geller, 80, died by physician assisted-suicide at the home of her children in West Orange, New Jersey last fall. Geller was terminally ill with cancer
Of the twelve patients, eleven were white and one was Asian. Six of them were married, three were widowed, two were divorced, and one was single, according to NJ Advance Media.
There is no data yet regarding how many patients took their own lives in 2020.
One of those patients who died was Zeporah ‘Zebbie’ Geller.
Geller, 80, was terminally ill with cancer. After Governor Phil Murphy signed the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act into law in April, her family said they reached out to 40 different physicians.
None of them agreed to take her case on. In August, the law was reinstated after legal challenges.
Finally, the family was able to find a physician who helped Geller end her life. She died on September 30 in the West Orange home of her son, Paul, and his wife, Joanne.
Being able to take advantage of the law ‘made the final portion of her life much more tenable and dignified, and for that we are happy,’ Paul Geller told NJ Advance Media.
‘We were able to fulfill her wishes. We miss her tremendously.’
Susan Boyce, a 56-year-old resident of Rumson, suffers from a terminal genetic disease known as Alpha-1 Antitryspin Deficiency.
The disease adversely affects her lungs, requiring her to use an oxygen tank to breathe.
‘Since the law took effect, I have felt free to enjoy the rest of my life without worrying about needlessly suffering in agony when it ends,’ she said.
‘For the last year up until the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I have been traveling with my family and enjoying outdoor activities like camping.
‘Before the law passed, I didn’t have the peace of mind to do that.’
Susan Boyce, a 56-year-old resident of Rumson, suffers from a terminal genetic disease known as Alpha-1 Antitryspin Deficiency. The disease adversely affects her lungs, requiring her to use an oxygen tank to breathe. She has come out in support of the new law
Murphy had signed the bill in April 2019, making New Jersey the seventh state with