Viewers praise “brave” and “moving” Louis Theroux euthanasia documentary

Viewers were divided over a group that encouraged assisted dying in the BBC episode

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 29/10/2018 - Programme Name: Louis Theroux - Altered States - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: *Strictly embargoed for use until Monday 29th October*
Louis Theroux in California Louis Theroux - (C) BBC - Photographer: Bryony Shearmur

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Louis Theroux’s latest documentary, the second of his Altered States series, has been praised by viewers for its powerful exploration of assisted dying in America.

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The episode, Choosing Death, saw Theroux visit California, one of the seven states in which it’s legal for doctors to prescribe life-ending medication to terminally ill patients. There he met people like Gus Thomasson, a retired respiratory therapist with stage four pancreatic cancer.

And viewers were left with a mix of emotions after watching Gus take the life-ending drugs and die surrounded by his family.

Audiences were also affected by the story of Deborah, a 65-year-old woman whose husband had died five months earlier. After ending up in a wheelchair as a result of a car crash, she reached out to the Final Exit Network, a group offering technical advice to people who wish to die but aren’t necessarily terminally ill.

Some viewers respected her decision…

Others were critical of the Network, saying Deborah should have been guided to grief counselling, not suicide…

But however viewers felt about Deborah’s death, most praised Theroux for his powerful exploration of the troubling topic…

And don’t expect the next episode of Altered States to be easy watching, either. In the final episode of the series, Theroux will explore open adoption in California, a system where women hand over their babies at birth to adoptive families for payment.

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Louis Theroux: Altered States is on 9pm Sunday BBC2


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