Doctor who planned to die by assisted suicide is happy to be alive

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Photo: Randy Hillard

The Detroit Free Press published an article written by Meira Gebel about a new treatment for stomach cancer and how one man, a doctor, had planned to travel to Switzerland to die by assisted suicide, before receiving this new treatment.

Randy Hilliard, who was a professor of psychiatry at Michigan State University, “was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer just a few months before he went on a quest to kill himself. He suddenly realized he had become obsessive when he began planning his funeral.”

“It was one rather pathetic way of asserting some control over my life,” said Hillard. “Cancer was going to kill me, and I did not intend to die yet.”

Hillard abandoned the idea after he heard about a drug called Herceptin. His oncologist at University of Michigan’s Rogel Cancer Center suggested he give it a try.

According to Gebel

Back in 2010, the drug had just recently been approved for stomach cancer patients and promised a slightly longer life expectancy — 11 to 13 months longer. It was a long shot: Only 20 percent of cancer patients have the HER-2 protein surrounding the cancer cell targeted by the drug.

Hillard’s metastatic tumors had that specific protein. And eight years later, it still puzzles him … well, the statistics do. Stomach cancer at his stage has an 18-percent survival rate, and, not to mention, is one of the most uncommon cancers in America.

“I wake up every day shocked at how non-dead I am,”

Since 2010, Hilliard and his wife have travelled to South America, Dubai, Singapore, and Sydney.

He has become an “advocate, frequently blogging in professional forums and fundraising for cancer research,” Gebel writes.

Assisted suicide ends life when a person is at their lowest point.

How many people like Hilliard were denied the opportunity of a new life because they died by assisted suicide?

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.