Dr. Eric Walsh is the Oregon doctor who prescribed a lethal dose of barbiturates to 29-year-old terminally ill Brittany Maynard and 19 others. Maynard moved from California to Oregon in 2014 to take advantage of the legal “Death with Dignity” or “Aid in Dying” protocol that allows Dr. Walsh to prescribe lethal doses. The protocol has been legal in the state of Oregon for 18 years. The practice has since been signed into law in California, where it will go into effect in June 2016. Other states where “Aid in Dying” is legal include Washington, Vermont, and in Bernalillo County, New Mexico. The status is currently disputed in Montana.
For the first time in his career, Dr. Walsh is speaking about the controversial practice on 60 Minutes. Walsh tells CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook: “Shouldn’t I be able to help them when they’re suffering and the burden of their suffering becomes intolerable to them?” LaPook mentions that when physician assisted suicide is discussed, “we hear a lot of statistical detail but not a lot of emotion.” Walsh agrees, “You’re right, the statistics are very dry.” He added, “Someone said that ‘Statistics are human stories with the tears washed off.'” 60 Minutes airs Sunday at 7:30pm on CBS.