Death With Dignity - What You Can Do: A brief description of the many ways that each of us can contribute to advancing this vitally important cause (June 2015)
Death Without Dignity, by Annabelle Gurwitch, in the New York Times, June 10, 2015. A personal story of one group of friend's efforts to assist a dying friend -- highlighting the importance of making aid-in-dying legal.
Assisted death bill approved by the California Senate, from the Los Angeles Times, June 5, 2015. The California Senate passes SB 128, the End of Life Option Act, by a strong 24 to 13 majority !!! "Passage of the bill, authored by [Senator Lois] Wolk and Democratic Sen. Bill Monning, would permit the terminally ill 'to voluntarily end their lives in peace,' she said. Wolk talked of the prolonged, 'brutal' death of [...]
End of Life Lessons, Sadly Relearned, by Paula Span, in "The New Old Age" blog, in the New York Times, May 26, 2015. Important lessons for end of life care, learned from experience.
California Senate Should Let Right To Die Bill Move Forward: A strongly worded editorial by the Los Angeles Times, May 22, 2015, endorsing Senate Bill 128: “As polls have shown consistently, a strong majority of Californians believe that terminally ill people should be able to end their lives peacefully and without pain when death is near. The state’s residents have waited too long … The Senate needs to move this bill along; the [...]
California Medical Association Removes Opposition to Physician Aid In Dying Bill. A statement by the California Medical Association, May 20, 2015. The CMA announces that it is officially "neutral" on Senate Bill 128, the End of Life Option Act, becoming the first state medical association to drop its opposition to physician aid-in-dying. Even better, the language of the CMA statement makes clear that the organization’s leadership supports the bill: “As physicians, we want [...]
A Better Way Out: An extremely important article by the famed physician Dr. Marcia Angell, senior lecturer at Harvard Medical School and former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. In the New York Review of Books, issue of January 8, 2015. A detailed review of the the book Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, and discusses the limitations of Gawande's book on the subject of aid-in-dying. Decisively refutes Gawande's concern [...]
The Last Day of Her Life, by Robin Marantz Henig, The New York Times Magazine, May 14, 2015. Important and fascinating article about Sandy Bem, famed Cornell University psychology professor, who chose to hasten her death when she was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer's disease.
The Farewell Party: Absolutely stupendous Israeli comedy by Sharon Maymon and Tal Granit, released in the US on May 22, 2015. Moving, compassionate, profound, and often hilarious. Tells the story of a group of friends at a Jerusalem retirement home who together help a terminally ill friend – in a surprisingly ‘creative’ way. When rumors of their assistance begin to spread, more and more people ask for their help, and the friends [...]
Offering a Choice To The Terminally Ill: The New York Times, Sunday March 15, 2015. In its lead editorial, our nation's most prestigious newspaper makes clear that it supports the passage of aid-in-dying laws. Describes "how successfully and responsibly the law has been carried out in Oregon", and notes the law's "layers of safeguards." Quotes Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion and Choices: "Making a secret process transparent makes it safer."
Stigma Around Physician-Assisted Dying Lingers: The New York Times, a column by Floyd Haberman, March 22, 2015. Interesting column about the history of the aid in dying movement, written at the height of the ultimately successful campaign for the California law. Quotes Dr. Marcia Angell, former executive editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, criticizing the AMA's opposition to physician aid in dying: It "focuses too much on the physician, and [...]
Patient Autonomy Gone Wrong: When Doing Everything is Way Too Much, by Jessica Nitter, New York Times, February 8, 2015. Archetypal example of the perils of staying alive at all costs, of failing to shift focus from cure to care at the appropriate point.
Canadian Supreme Court Say Yes To Aid In Dying: Canadian Broadcasting Co., February 6, 2015. Reports the momentous and unanimous decision by the Canadian Supreme Court to declare that physician aid-in-dying is legal for terminally ill, irremediably suffering patients. The video is especially worth watching. Also see Canada Court Strikes Down Ban on Aiding Patient Suicide, in the February 6 New York Times.
Lawsuit seeks to legalize aid in dying in New York, New York Times, February 3, 2015. Reports on the lawsuit filed by terminally ill patients, their doctors (including the famed physician Dr. Timothy Quill), and End of Life Choices New York, to establish that prohibitions against "assisting in a suicide", do not apply to doctors in the context of aiding their terminally ill patients.
New Life for the Aid In Dying Movement, by Julia Jacobs, on Evanston radio station WNUR, January 30, 2015. 23 minutes. With quotes from Khadine Bennett of the ACLU of Illinois, George Eighmey of the Death With Dignity National Center, and Hemlock of Illinois members Lynn and Court Lawson and Ed Gogol
Israelis Must Not Stop Fighting for Aid In Dying, by Avinoam Reches, January 6, 2015, in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Reports on the "courageous decision" of an Israeli court ruling that allowed a patient with terminal ALS to end his life. "To preface a necessary debate on this subject within Israeli society, it is worth repeating the words of the famous cardiac surgeon Prof. Christiaan Barnard: 'I have learned from my life in [...]
India and the Right to Suicide, by Jerry Pinto, New York Times, December 28, 2014. Describes the sad situation in India where archaic laws still criminalize suicide and ill people and their families are subject to prosecution and shakedowns.
Most US Doctors Now Support Aid In Dying: NBC News, December 16, 2014. Reports the results of the latest survey of 21,000 US physicians by Medscape, showing that for the first time a clear majority -- 56% -- support physician aid-in-dying, up ten percentage points in only four years. The percentage opposed dropped ten percentage points in four years, down to 31%. Quotes famed medical ethicist Arthur Caplan of New York University: "It [...]