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Blog2017-07-11T14:04:53-05:00

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To Live and Die in Paris

A fascinating opinion piece by Pamela Druckerman in the New York Times on August 19, 2018.  It's about her Parisian friend Helene, in her 70's and terminally ill with metastatic cancer, who is planning to end her life -- to "disappear", as she puts it.  Helene is suffering ... she struggles to walk.  And she's not afraid of dying.  "No, not at all," she replies when the question is put to her.  [...]

October 7th, 2018|

Accepting Professional Accountability: A Call for Uniform National Data Collection on Medical Aid in Dying

A call for universal data collection on the practice of medical aid in dying, with a uniform national standard adopted by medical professionals, by Jean T. Abbott, Jacqueline J. Glover and Matthew K. Wynia, in the journal Health Affairs, published November 20, 2017. The authors recognize that medical aid in dying is now available for about 20% of the US population, with more states likely to legalize it, and call for health [...]

October 7th, 2018|

People with disabilities want autonomy and freedom at end of life

A powerful guest commentary by Michael Martignetti, suffering from Friedrich's ataxia, a horrible neuromuscular degenerative disease. Mr. Martignetti writes:  "I co-founded the Ataxia Support Group in Boston in 2000, so I know the ravages of this disease, what awaits me at the end of my life, and it will not be pretty. Friedreich’s ataxia causes: 1) the spinal cord and peripheral nerves degenerate, 2) diabetes in some people, and 3) various forms [...]

October 4th, 2018|

The Comforting Fictions of Dementia Care

A fascinating article about the profound ethical dilemmas associated with caring for people suffering from dementia, and in particular on the ethics of being truthful.  By Larissa MacFarquhar in the New Yorker, October 8, 2018. The article describes how medical ethicist Maartje Schermer believes that "To reject happy delusion on principle seems to her too puritanical, too rigid.  Besides, she believes, once a person with dementia has lost the capacity to tell [...]

October 2nd, 2018|

The Last Thing Mom Asked

The realities of dying of lung cancer, by Sarah Lyall, describing the horrors of her mother's final days, in the New York Times on August 31, 2018.  "Gradually, the illness took hold, the inevitable became less abstract and the jokes stopped.  Mom had vivid dreams of death so awful that she could not bring herself to describe them.  She became too weak to leave her bed, more of her independence seeping out [...]

October 1st, 2018|

Hawaii becomes the seventh state with aid in dying !

Some really big news.  On April 5, 2018, Hawaii governor David Ige signed the "Our Care, Our Choice Act", making Hawaii the seventh state with medical aid in dying, joining California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Montana, and Vermont.  The law goes into effect on January 1, 2019. It was a long time coming.  The first aid in dying bill was introduced in Hawaii in 1998.  But this long process resulted in a tremendous depth of knowledge and support for [...]

April 29th, 2018|
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