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This is a dying with dignity case in Pennsylvania where they have no law protecting anyone helping anyone assisting their loved ones with trying to commit suicide. If you help the one you love, you could be charged with murder.
Becky Benight is an amazing woman. She is spunky, creative, caring, and she totally adores and loves her husband. When we met, and her story began to be told to me, I was amazed by her strength. When she was seven years old, she was hit by a car and dragged underneath it for two blocks. She suffered many injuries including a broken back. These injuries created pain that she endures to this day.
In 2003 she developed cancer, which left her permanently disabled. In 2005, her life really changed, She suffered three strokes. The doctors decided to insert a splint, and she did well for awhile. She was still able to enjoy doing her wonderful collages, being in awe of her son, taking care of the animals she rescued such as a deer and a crow, gardening, and loving her cats. In 2015 she suffered a heart attack and another stroke two months later. She and I often talked after this stroke, and she told me many times that she no longer wanted to be alive. She struggled with so many things that used to be easy.
Hearing this was hard, but I understood. I never quite knew what to tell her, so I just told her how much I loved her. I sent her pictures throughout each week to try and cheer her up. She fought on I believe mainly for Philip, who was going through a challenging time with his family, and for her son John. She wasn't ready to say goodbye.
A couple of days into September I got the call I was dreading from Philip. Becky had another stroke. He came home from work where he found her at the bottom of the stairs in a pool of blood. After tests were done, it was determined she had another another stroke, but this time it was on the other side of her brain and affected her entire brain.
This is when Philip began struggling and fighting to get Becky into a rehabilitation center. Philip struggled to get in-home care for Becky with his insurance company.
Soon her status was changed from rehab to custodial, and she had to enter a nursing home where their nightmare worsened. After many issues, they decided to move her to another room. Philip asked them to wait until he got there after work. Stroke victims don't like change, because it can feel very scary and threatening to them. It is best to have familiar people with the patient to make it as smooth and calming as possible.
They moved her before he got there, and he found Becky hysterical. Becky told Philip that it was too much, and she couldn't live like this. She said, "I cannot do this." After eleven years of marriage they decided to kill themselves. They felt they had no choice, because of his insurance and the nursing home. He couldn't handle watching her suffer anymore. "We were family. We loved each other, and we would do anything for each other," said Philip Benight.
They were both resuscitated, and Philip was charged with a felony for Assisted Suicide. He had to post his entire savings to bail out of jail, which is money he will never recover. His lawyer requires five thousand dollars to take on the case. Because of the felony charge, he is unable to resume employment until this is over..
Becky is not expected to live much longer. Her heart actually stopped this past week, and the doctors resuscitated her despite a DNR. Her son had to reinstate it afterwards. Philip was told that if she died, charges could be increased. With deep regret, Becky passed away on 1/30/17.
What hurts Philip and Becky the most is that they both can't see each other anymore. Every time Philip brings this up with me, he breaks down. He needs help. He was only trying to help his dearest friend, dearest love of his life.
I would like to ad a couple of side notes. When I asked Philip for pictures, everything he sent had to do with Becky. He didn't even think about himself. I had to get a picture of him from a mutual friend. I have been friends with Becky and Philip for several years, and I love them with all of my heart. They are our family. They are so devoted to one another that the beauty of it stops you in tracks. What may or may not have happened leaves me with absolute no doubt about the intent. It was all about their deep friendship, how much they cared for one another, and their deep love and respect for each other.