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Death with Dignity: How I helped my dad die

A daughter’s story of her father’s decision to end his life when he lost his independence and freedom due to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was facing quadriplegia. Her dad sent her a text message saying he was ready to die, and he needed her to help. The safeguards of these laws often discourage people in search of a peaceful ending. This case was no exception. The daughter found herself contemplating ways to end her father’s life: “Perhaps my husband and I could carry him and his gun down the hill behind his house and leave him? Or take his rowboat out into the ocean and push him overboard? Smother him with a pillow while he slept? ”

Her dad, a Harvard-trained epidemiologist, had been a disciplined athlete and restless traveler who’d run 18 marathons, summited mountains across North America, and navigated remote stretches of Africa.

“We’re giving people interventions they don’t want and treatments that are painful and make them lose control over their own destiny and well-being at end of life,”
“And with Medicare costs soaring, we’re going broke along the way”
Laura Carstensen, psychology and public policy teacher, Stanford and founding director of its Center on Longevity.

He’d always said he’d sooner disappear into the woods with his Glock than end up on a ventilator or a feeding tube, alone in an institution. The newly-enacted Maine Death with Dignity Act provided a more palatable path. In the end he was able to access the law,

The article is well written, gives a thorough look into the Death with Dignity process and includes some history and background on medical aid in laws. It is worth the read.

 

You can also listen to the story. Click on “How I Helped my Dad Die”
https://megaphone.link/BLM9230063586

Article by Esmé E. Deprez, Bloomberg Businessweek
January 27, 2021

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