This week in towns across Montana, Compassion & Choices-Washington’s Medical Director Dr. Tom Preston has been conducting town hall style meetings to provide information and answer questions about Death With Dignity for Montana.
From Helena to Bozeman, Dr. Preston’s events are providing opportunities for citizens to gain a full understanding of how physician aid in dying is working in Oregon and Washington, and how it can work for Montana. The presentations have included details on how physicians manage Death With Dignity in Oregon and Washington as well as statistics on use of the laws in those states.
Dr. Preston is in a unique position to comment on Death With Dignity. As a physician, Dr. Preston understands the need for doctors to be healers, but also to end suffering for dying patients. Preston notes that more and more physicians are realizing that “death with dignity” is a humane part of medical practice.
By participating in physician aid in dying, physicians are helping patients gain release from the agonies of extended dying. They are staying with their patients and giving good end-of-life care. Patients then that know they can talk with their doctors about obtaining a peaceful and dignified death and are able to have conversations about all the options available to them. The conversations help patients to better direct their end-of-life care and gain peace of mind knowing they will not have to suffer unbearably.
Dr. Preston also discusses Death With Dignity from the perspective of families, who express overwhelming gratitude for the support their loved one recevies. Patients and survivors have a chance to be together and to reconcile any past differences and say goodbye before the patient dies. The death is peaceful, allowing the patient to escape the agony that often takes over the last days or hours of life.
Dr. Preston’s next presentation will be on Friday, September 24 at noon, Silver Bow Library, Butte.