The Arts

Death with Dignity laws and assisted death are often addressed in books, film, and television. Often these portrayals are fraught with inaccuracies in an effort to make this controversial subject even more of a hot-button issue. Sometimes, however, bodies of work emerge which are accurate and thought provoking.

Below you'll find posts about films or TV programs which take the time to truly look at what it means to die with dignity.

This Week in the Movement

Throughout the week, we keep people up-to-date with information about the Death with Dignity movement and other topics related to end-of-life care through Facebook and Twitter. Below are highlights from this week.

Efforts regarding Death with Dignity:

Read more: This Week in the Movement

"How to Die in Oregon" Nominated for Emmy

Emmy Awards by David Malkoff on flickr

Peter Richardson's groundbreaking documentary, How to Die in Oregon has been nominated for an Emmy Award for best documentary! Nominees were announced today by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

This life-affirming documentary has helped people all over the world learn more about what it means to regain control of one's own end-of-life care when faced with a terminal illness—but not by talking about Death with Dignity laws and the politics behind them. Director Peter Richardson decided to show a different perspective. After four years of filming, he created a film which sensitively and intimately portrays the use of Oregon's Death with Dignity Act and the campaign to pass the second law in the state of Washington. Among the personal interviews with volunteers, advocates, and terminally ill patients throughout Oregon and Washington, the heart of the story emerges with Cody Curtis, her family, and her oncologist.

Read more: "How to Die in Oregon" Nominated for Emmy

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


Defend dignity. Take action.

You are the key to ensuring well-crafted Death with Dignity laws for all Americans. With your financial and volunteer help, the Death with Dignity National Center, a 501(c)(3), non-partisan, nonprofit organization, has been the leading advocate in the Death with Dignity movement. Individual contributions helped us pass new Death with Dignity laws in Washington and Vermont, defend the Oregon law, and provide education and outreach programs for the vitality of the Death with Dignity movement.

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