Guest Blogger

Many of the most successful blogs have an element in common: a diverse voice. Blogs partly came about, after all, from a desire for an interactive way to get information and to have a community of people participating in the discussions.

The Death with Dignity movement appeals to people from all walks of life, and we'd like your help in expanding our community. Interested in adding your voice to the Death with Dignity movement?

To have your piece considered for our blog, Living with Dying:

  • You must be a Death with Dignity National Center supporter.
  • Send your Death with Dignity-related article (700-1,000 words) to me via email.
  • Once your post is up, convince your friends and family to read it.

We look forward to reading your work.

Time Magazine Teaches Us How to Die

Time Magazine cover "How to Die"

Dr. Christian Sinclair is the editor of Pallimed: A hospice and palliative care blog. He's passionate about health care professionals engaging the public through social media. You can follow him on Twitter @ctsinclair or @pallimed.

This article originally appeared on Pallimed and is republished with permission

Some of you may have caught the stark red cover of Time magazine last week with the bold white font and minimalist design, which let you know lurking within those pages was a story that would let you know "How to Die." (Subscription required)  Now as you may recall, Time magazine was recently lauded/lambasted for the breast feeding cover featuring a 3 year old on his mother's breast. So initially I thought this was Time magazine jumping into sensationalism again to increase magazine sales, but then on further thought would people really be stampeding the newsstands for this subject?

Read more: Time Magazine Teaches Us How to Die

Book Review: "Twelve Breaths a Minute: End of Life Essays"

 End of Life EssaysMeg Claire had dedicated her career to the success of grassroots nonprofit organizations. Currently, she
serves as a director at one of the country's most prestigious children's hospitals. For more, follow Meg on Twitter.

I want a good death. You probably do too. But people who have made clear their decisions about wanting to die at home surrounded by loved ones, still end up dying in ICUs. They undergo treatments that prolong their suffering and may shorten their lives, even when they know they are imminently dying. We hope for a heart attack, one big one to finish us off, but the odds aren't in our favor. For most of us, it'll be the long, slow decline we dread.

Read more: Book Review: "Twelve Breaths a Minute: End of Life Essays"

Dr. Olson

 Stories to Inspire a Peaceful Passing (Volume 1)Early on in her medical residency years, Lauren Jodi Van Scoy, MD, developed an interest in critical care with a focus on end-of-life issues. She wrote Last Wish: Stories to Inspire a Peaceful Passing (Volume 1) In addition to personal stories of people facing end-of-life decisions, Dr. Van Scoy includes a tear-away discussion guide, the Compass, to help individuals talk about and determine what they'd want if they end up in a life threatening situation or land in the ICU. Below is an excerpt from Dr. Van Scoy's book, reprinted with permission.

Read more: Dr. Olson

You're Not Alone in Life's Dark Places

Joel and Alissa

Raised in New England, educated in the northeast, midwest, Japan, Hawaii, and a long time resident of the Islands. After serving as a high school and college teacher and administrator, Joel later became an employee benefits specialist and insurance company marketing vice president.

Since 1990, he's provided consulting services (employee benefits, group insurance, human resource issues, and education) to individuals, schools and corporate clients. The focus of his community service is on organizations representing people with disabilities and their families and, recently, in gathering people interested in discussing end-of-life issues. The article below is about his daughter Alissa, who died at the age of 32. You're welcome to contact Joel directly.

Our most influential teachers might be people we never meet, never sit in their class. We know them through books, oral history, stories. Yet, the same mystery of teacher-student relationship exists—as the saying goes, "when you're ready, a teacher appears." The function of good teachers is to help us see things in new ways.

Read more: You're Not Alone in Life's Dark Places

Washington 2011 Death with Dignity Report Attracts Little Media Attention

Robb Miller of Compassion & Choices of Washington

Robb Miller has been the Executive Director of Compassion & Choices of Washington—an affiliate of Compassion & Choices—since 2000. He was also one of the leaders of the coalition that passed Initiative 1000, the Washington Death with Dignity Act, with nearly 60% of the vote in 2008.

When the Washington Department of Health issued its third annual report on the Washington State Death with Dignity Act in early May, there was little interest from the media and no good news for opponents of patient autonomy at the end-of-life.

The lack of interest from the media tells us there was nothing sensational and no controversies to report. On the other hand, less media coverage means less awareness about the law.

Only 16 more people received prescriptions for life-ending medication as compared to 2010, and only 10 more died after receiving prescriptions. Of the 94 individuals who died, 70 self-administered medication, and 19 didn't—32% of patients who acquired prescriptions in 2011 elected not to take the medication. This is bad news for opponents who claimed that people who use the law would be anxious to die and would take the medication prematurely. The report indicates just the opposite.

Read more: Washington 2011 Death with Dignity Report Attracts Little Media Attention

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