End-of-Life Choice, Palliative Care and Counseling

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Living a Life, and Choosing When to Die

THE NEW YORK TIMES
Letters to the Editor
July 14, 2011

Most of us would like to control the timing and circumstances of our deaths. Dudley Clendinen, who has A.L.S., has a plan to do so. He claims to have a way of ending his life that is “quiet and calm.” It appears to give him great comfort that he has the means to end his life if and when living becomes too unbearable. It also seems that this is a rational choice made after serious and thoughtful consideration.

Whether Mr. Clendinen will execute his plan is uncertain. Many dying people who obtain prescribed life-ending medicines (which they must take themselves) in states where aid in dying is a legally recognized option for the terminally ill never take the medicines.

Yet they and thousands of other dying people in those states are provided comfort knowing that this last-resort option is available. Every state should formally permit aid in dying for mentally competent dying adults.

DAVID C. LEVEN
Executive Director, Compassion
and Choices of New York

Pelham, N.Y., July 11, 2011

CLICK HERE TO READ AND COMMENT ON THIS LETTER AT THE NEW YORK TIMES