Terminally Ill Cape Cod Doctor Fights for Right to Die

The lawsuit seeks to prevent criminal prosecution of what it calls, "medical aid in dying"

A Massachusetts doctor facing a future he knows all too well is fighting for his own right to die.

"I've treated people like me, I've been their doctor through their deaths, I've seen what they go through," said Dr. Roger Kligler of Falmouth, Massachusetts.

Kligler has spent decades as a practicing doctor, mainly in Brockton. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2002, and after years of treatment, it has become resistant to hormone therapy, giving him anywhere from seven months to five years live.

"So I know what my future is going to hold, it's not pretty, and I know that I'm going to be suffering," he said.

With the help of advocacy group Compassion and Choices, Kligler has filed this lawsuit against Attorney General Maura Healey and Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe, seeking the right to have the option to end his own life.

"It's a petition that is certainly, I'm sure, heartfelt and sincere, but it's being brought to the wrong branch of government," O'Keefe said.

The DA says this is something that needs to be tackled by the state legislature.

"The legislature makes policy and law, the courts apply the law," said O'Keefe.

But Kligler and his wife of 38 years, Cathy, don't see it that way. And they hope that if their lawsuit is successful, it will set a precedent for others in this state.

"This is something he felt really strongly about, so I'm happy to support him and what we both want to see happen in Massachusetts," Cathy Kligler said.

"It would be wonderful, for me, for all the other people who are dying and who will be dying, to have this right," Roger Kligler said through tears.

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