Imprisoned by her own body and slowly dying, Sherri Muzher wants to choose when to exit this life so she can help others to live.
The 43-year-old Michigan woman has launched a one-woman campaign from her wheelchair to get her home state to reconsider its ban against physician-assisted suicide because she wants to donate her organs while they’re still functioning.
Unable to walk or speak clearly and ravaged by multiple sclerosis, Muzher has nonetheless conducted a series of local television interviews in pursuit of her dying wish.
“I would rather I help give life to others while my organs are still viable,” she told WDIV TV, struggling to form words. “It is my reality. I’m getting weaker … This ultimately brings reality home.”
But getting her wish granted is another matter altogether. Michigan was once home to “Doctor of Death” Jack Kevorkian and a 1998 measure to legalize assisted suicides was overwhelmingly defeated by state voters.
Kevorkian helped more than 40 critically ill people to commit suicide in Michigan. In 1999, after injecting a fatal dose to a terminally ill man while “60 Minutes” cameras rolled, he was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to prison. Kevorkian died in 2011.
Sherri Muzher is in the last stages of multiple sclerosis. She’s asking for physician-assisted suicide.
Legal experts have spoken out in support of Muzher, but noted that Kevorkian’s scarred legacy in Michigan makes it unlikely her assisted-suicide plea would be sanctioned.
“It’s something that in Michigan, in particular, is going to be very controversial given our history with Dr. Kevorkian,” Wayne State University law professor Lance Gable told WXMI TV.
“Her motivations seem to be very heartfelt. She wants to both control her own destiny and also to help other people,” Gable said. “And I think that’s a very compelling story to tell.”
Muzher, a law school graduate and marketing specialist, was diagnosed 16 years ago. Confined to bed and short periods in a wheelchair, she says her lungs are too far gone to be used for a transplant, but her other major organs including her heart and kidneys, are still healthy.
“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?” she said.
Read more: NY Daily News