Bioethics Blogs

Brittany Maynard Urges Palliative Care Specialist to Stop Misrepresenting Her Case

Brittany Maynard urges palliative care specialist Ira Byock to stop misrepresenting her case prior to his debate with Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee on the Diane Rehm Show this week
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In comments that Brittany posted on the website for Rehm’s nationally-syndicated NPR show, she denied claims by Byock and other opponents of death with dignity that Compassion & Choices is using her to advance the aid-in-dying movement. Rehm read part of Brittany’s comments during her show. 

“I am Brittany Maynard and it concerns me that Dr. Ira Byock will speak on my ‘behalf’ at all again. I watched a special on PBS where this same individual spoke about my case as though he knew personal details about me, saying some things that were quite frankly not true.

“For example, he said that a gentle death would be available to me easily through hospice, unfortunately that would be after a great length of time, with lots of suffering (physical and emotional), and loss for my young body. He is right that this is not being accomplished successfully for many terminally ill Americans on a widespread basis across our country. This needs to change too, I agree with him there.”

“But perhaps most disturbingly, Byock claimed that Compassion & Choices had somehow taken advantage of me through ‘exploitation’ and that I feel compelled to die now based on public expectations. I DO NOT, this is MY choice, I am not that weak. The day is my choice, I have the right to change my mind at any time, it is my right.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.