Sherri Muzher, a terminally ill Michigan woman, has one final wish. She wants to end her own life and donate her organs so others can live.
"We're all here on earth to make a difference," Muzher, who is 43 and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 16 years ago, told Fox Detroit affiliate WJBK. "It would be a nice legacy to give life. ... We ought to be able to make our own decisions, and if that collateral effect means helping others, why would anyone have a problem with that?"
MS is a debilitating disease in which the body's immune system eats away at the myelin, the protective sheath covering the nerves, and interferes with how the brain, spinal cord and other areas of the body communicate. In severe cases, sufferers can lose the ability to walk and talk clearly. There is no cure.
"I would rather I help give life to others while my organs are still viable," Muzher said in an interview with local station WDIV. "It is my reality. I'm getting weaker. Weaker muscles on my talking, everything. This ultimately brings reality home."
Assisted suicide is illegal in Michigan, once home to the infamous "Doctor of Death," Jack Kervorkian. Proposal B, a 1998 measure to legalize assisted suicide, did not pass in the state. The practice is punishable by imprisonment.
According to Reuters, physician-assisted suicide is legal in a handful of states including Oregon, Washington, Vermont and Montana.
Medical ethicist Dr. Michael Stellini weighed in on Muzher's situation, telling WDIV:
If we wait too long, she couldn't donate. ... If we do it too early, she's not terminal, and that raises a whole other set of ethical issues. If we're going to allow physician assisted suicide, we'd have to determine a window to make the determination of terminal state, and the end of viability of the organs, and that's when we would do what she is proposing.