A terminally ill California woman determined to be with her four young children for as long as she could was reportedly denied an expensive chemotherapy treatment — but won approval for a lethal drug to legally end her life.
The New York Post reported Stephanie Packer, 32, wants to be the face of a Right to Live movement.
"I just want to spend every last second with my kids," Packer tells the newspaper. Her children are aged 7 to 13.
"I want my kids to see that death is a part of life."
Packer was diagnosed with scleroderma, a chronic autoimmune disease that causes scar tissue to form in her lungs. As her condition worsens, she's had little support in trying to stay live, according to the Post.
When her doctors wanted to switch her to a chemotherapy drug that might help her live a little longer, her insurance company refused to pay, the Post reported.
"She says she asked if the company covered the cost of drugs to put her to death," Post columnist Andrea Peyser writes. "She was told the answer is yes — with a co-payment of $1.20."
"My jaw dropped," Packer told Peyser.
Months later, after Packer threatened to tell her story to the media, the drug was approved, the Post reported.
Sean Crowley, of Compassion & Choices, a "death with dignity" advocacy group, said treatment delays or rejections are "not uncommon" in the cost-conscious insurance industry.
"We're heartbroken for this woman," Crowley told the newspaper. "People battle drug companies every day. They go through awful pain and suffering just to get well. We think people should be able to do whatever they want"— including continuing to live.
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