This week the story of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman with terminal brain cancer who plans to end her life on November 1, has made national news. A California native, Maynard moved to Oregon for the purpose of being able to take her own life legally by aid of a prescription under the Death with Dignity Act. Her goal is to bring attention to assisted suicide laws in hopes that other states will follow Oregon’s lead.
Kara Tippetts, a Colorado mother of four, has written a letter to Maynard asking her to reconsider. Similarly, Tippetts has stage-four cancer (which started as breast cancer two years ago) that has passed the brain/blood barrier and metastasized throughout her body. She too knows that her days are numbered but believes it is possible to die with dignity while cherishing every breath she has been given. In her letter, Tippetts gently challenges the medical community to consider whether or not they are walking away from the Hippocratic Oath.
Since Tippetts’ letter to Maynard was posted on Wednesday (October 8) on Ann Voskamp’s popular blog, A Holy Experience, the post has been shared almost 900,000 times on Facebook. Tippetts book, The Hardest Peace (released last week), has also rocketed to the top 15 in sales on Amazon.com.
In her letter to Maynard, Tippetts writes:
“Dear Brittany Maynard,
This morning my best friend and I read your story. My heart ached for you, and I’m simply grieved by your terminal brain tumor, for the less than six months the doctor’s gave you, just past your 29th birthday. With a heavy heart, I left my home and headed for my oncologist. I too am dying, Brittany. My oncologist and I sat for a long time with hurting hearts for your story. We spoke in gentle tones discussing the hard path you are being asked to travel. . . .
. . . Today my oncologist and I spoke of your dying, of my dying and of the beautiful partnership I have with my doctors in carrying me to my last moments with gentle care. For 2,000 years doctors have lived beside the beautiful stream of protecting life and lovingly meeting patients in their dying with grace.
The doctor who prescribed you that pill you carry with you that will hasten your last breath has walked away from the Hippocratic Oath that says, “First, do no harm.” He or she has walked away from the oath that has protected life and the beautiful dying we are granted. The doctors agreeing to such medicine are walking away from the beautiful protection of the Hippocratic Oath. . . .
. . . Hastening death was never what God intended. But in our dying, He does meet us with His beautiful grace. The Hippocratic Oath matters, and those who are choosing to walk away from it need to be challenged. My heart hurts that they have decided to swim from the shores of grace that it protected in our living and dying. I get to partner with my doctor in my dying, and it’s going to be a beautiful and painful journey for us all.
But, hear me — it is not a mistake — beauty will meet us in that last breath.”
(Click here for the full letter.)
Tippetts has also been interviewed on Colorado Springs CBS affiliate KKTV (Click here to view.) as well as Denver and Colorado Springs ABC affiliates about both The Hardest Peace and her letter to Maynard.
Tippetts’ story has also been featured by:
- World Magazine
- Family Talk
- Focus on the Family
Visit Kara Tippetts online home at www.mundanefaithfulness.com, become a fan on Facebook (mundanefaithfulness) or follow her on Twitter (@mother_to_many).