NPR’s Diane Rehm Plays Role In Right-To-Die Debate
Her husband's slow and painful death prompted her to speak out about the lack of legal medical help for the dying. Meanwhile, the issue of assisted suicide is playing out in several state legislatures.
The Washington Post:
NPR Host Diane Rehm Emerges As Key Force In The Right-To-Die Debate
For [Diane] Rehm, the inability of the dying to get legal medical help to end their lives has been a recurring topic on her show. But her husband’s slow death was a devastating episode that helped compel her to enter the contentious right-to-die debate. “I feel the way that John had to die was just totally inexcusable,” Rehm said in a long interview in her office. “It was not right.” (Rosenwald, 2/14)
The Baltimore Sun:
Dying Former Official Focus Of Maryland Assisted Suicide Bill
It's been more than 15 years since Dick Israel's body started to revolt. His booming voice has become a rumble, his clever words tumbling out slowly in a nearly undecipherable growl. A hospital gown has replaced his trademark straw hat and bow tie. Richard E. Israel, 72, spent more than two decades behind the scenes in Annapolis guiding lawmakers. Now he plans to spend his final months alive lobbying them from afar, advocating for the right to die when he chooses, a final act of control over a disease that robbed him of it. (Cox, 1/15)
The Wall Street Journal:
Bills Would Let Doctors Help Terminally Ill Patients End Their Lives
[Liver cancer patient Janet] Colbert’s end-of-life options would expand under a bill in the New Jersey Legislature that would allow doctors to help terminally ill patients end their lives. Similar legislation is emerging this year in New York and Connecticut. While the bills in the three states reflect a growing movement in the U.S., their outcomes are far from certain. Such measures have drawn opposition from the Roman Catholic Church, the American Medical Association and some groups that represent people with disabilities. (De Avila, 2/16)
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal writes about the difficulties of providing palliative care to children.
The Wall Street Journal:
The Challenges Of Palliative Care For Children
Palliative care is increasingly used to help seriously ill adults and seniors. Now medical centers are creating teams that specialize in a more challenging task: delivering palliative care for young children. Despite a popular misconception, palliative care isn’t just about keeping patients comfortable until they die. Rather, palliative-care teams complement the usual array of physicians, specialists and clinicians, helping patients by managing pain, treating symptoms and ensuring that they have the best possible quality of life. Pediatric palliative care is modeled on the principles of adult palliative care. But because so much about treating seriously ill children is different from caring for adults, it presents its own unique set of challenges. (Sadick, 2/16)