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Nearing End Of Life

If You Choose To End Life Early

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If you are at an end stage and are thinking of ending life early, consider whether it is because of depression. Depression frequently accompanies end of life. To quote Sally Fisher: "Terminating life can be a permanent solution to a temporary problem." To help determine whether you do have depression, and, if so, what you can do about it, click here

Still, if you want to end life early, consider the following

On your own: 

  • Stopping eating and drinking is a legal way to hasten death, usually within two weeks. In a survey of hospice nurses in Oregon offsite link, published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2003, respondents reported that most of their terminally ill patients who had deliberately refused food and fluids had “a good death,” with low levels of pain or suffering.(Voluntarily stopping eating and drinking is referred to as  V.S.E.D. in medical circles).  
    • The Supreme Court has ruled that a person has a right to refuse medical intervention.
    • Congress has acted with the Patient Self Determination Act which legalizes  V.S.E.D. in every state
  • An easy to understand how-to book is available called Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying by Derek Humphry. The book is available through such online booksellers as Barnes and Noble offsite link or Amazon offsite link.

With the help of others:

  • Assisted Suicide is legal in a batch of states in the United States. Assisted suicide is also legal in several countries in Europe. To learn more, click here.
  • It is worth noting that it is common in the U.S. for the timing of deaths to be negotiated between a patient and/or his or her family, and a doctor. If you are going to discuss the issue with your doctor, the doctor may feel more comfortable with the discussion if the meeting is one-on-one. If there is any question about your mental competence, consider adding the family member or friend that the doctor thinks of as someone with your welfare in mind who is competent to make decisions.

For more information, see:

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