The Revolution is upon us
The recent Washington Post article, “We’re in the middle of a revolution on death” is gently thought-provoking and describes a trend that we hope will become the reality for more Californians. Specifically, those who are facing terminal illness and wish to spend their last days not in an induced coma, in agony tethered to life support in a hospital, or suffering excessive medical intervention and expecting a miracle. Instead, these patients are offered the option to die in their own home with access to medical aid-in-dying and surrounded by loved ones. In California, the good news is that medical aid-in-dying became available to the terminally ill via the End of Life Option Act in June of 2016. However, the reality is that many of those who might choose to access this law have neither the information nor the support they would need to obtain the prescription when it could make the most difference.
“Don’t tell me what I have to do.”
As Dick Shannon, the subject of the new HBO documentary “Alternate Endings”, released by HBO August 14, 2019, plainly states:
“My observation about the way people die, at least in America, is they are not allowed the opportunity to be part of the process. For my way of thinking, the part that bothers me immensely is not being allowed to be part of that process. It’s my death. Go with what you believe, but don’t tell me what I have to do.”
That, in a nutshell, is the mission of End of Life Choices California: to bring more attention to these issues in our populous state. We aim to make sure that BOTH those seeking medical services and those providing medical services are working with the same information and understanding when it comes to these critical discussions about end of life decision-making. Our goal is simply to help more Californians, in clear, honest and informed communication with their physician and family, decide for themselves how they will die with their dignity intact and leave a peaceful legacy for their loved ones.
I am looking forward to seeing this new documentary. It looks like it will be just the kind of film we will want to include in our resource-rich website, endoflifechoicesca.org, which is designed to assist anyone (patients, hospices, nurses, physicians, journalists) seeking information about California’s End of Life Option Act. The site, also offers other end-of-life planning tools to help individuals take control over how they die, in the same way they have engaged in their life.
End of Life Choices California offers information and personal support to anyone seeking help facing end-of-life decisions through our state-wide volunteer program. You can read about our services here.