JAMA Network Studies Address Rational Suicide As Part of End of Life Planning

By on August 12, 2015
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The debate is brewing. Is rational suicide really rational? What does rational suicide mean?

The definition in simple terms :  “the concept that suicide is presumably a reasonable choice by a terminally ill person; also, the ending of one’s life for considered reasons as opposedto emotional/psychological reasons.” 

Of course there is nothing “simple” about this subject. With the growing aging population, we are facing living longer, but, not necessarily healthier. With advanced technologies and medical advancements, we now have the ability to extend our life span.

The ‘right to die’ movement is growing, as boomers begin to age.  Many are expressing they want to have the right to choose the time and manner of their death. Many boomers are experiencing watching friends and families live with dementia, chronic and painful medical conditions and progressive illnesses. Many want to ability to make a “rational” assessment of their end of life planning and want to assure freedom from pain or a debilitating disease. Of the utmost importance to all is for their quality of life.

The recent death of Gill Pharoah at a Swiss Euthanasia clinic has fueled this debate. She was a healthy 75-year-old palliative care nurse from London that has worked with the elderly most of her nursing career.

She recently  wrote to the Times, baldly claiming that “many old people are a burden on society”.  While she was healthy, she did not want to become a “burden” on her family or society. While I think that cases such as Ms Pharoah are rare, the word “burden”, I believe sits in the minds of many aging seniors. This may be the reason that our second highest suicide population in the US , is those 85 years of age and older.

The JAMA Internal Medicine, has just released studies on end of life and physician assisted suicide.

If this is a topic of interest to you, here are links to studies that will help you make choices that are right for you.

A Study of the First Year of the End-of-Life Clinic for Physician-Assisted Dying in the Netherlands

Comparison of the Expression and Granting of Requests for Euthanasia in Belgium in 2007 vs 2013

Euthanasia in Belgium and the Netherlands On a Slippery Slope?

Guardianship and End-of-Life Decision Making

Guiding the Guardians and Other Participants in Shared Decision Making

This is a Very Difficult Subject for Many

Share Your Thoughts Here On End of Life Issues and Rational Suicide

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