Did Robin Williams commit suicide due to fear of Advanced Dementia? Did Brittany Maynard hasten her dying based on her fear of future unbearable pain? Did they pay the high price of premature dying—losing some remaining enjoyable life—to act while they still had capacity to control WHEN they died? Might they have lived longer had they been aware of an effective plan to die AFTER losing capacity?
Psychiatrist/bioethicist Stanley Terman, PhD, MD, Medical Director and CEO of the non-profit organization, Caring Advocates, has created three new videos from live presentations in Oct. and Nov. 2014.
1) The BEST WAY to Say Goodbye—if living with pain or dementia.
This video portrays poignant stories of patients that illustrate the need for diligent, strategic Advance Care Planning:
Robin Williams: Was a “key factor” in his decision to commit suicide experiencing hallucinations or other symptoms of early Lewy Body Dementia? Might he have suffered from the “Dementia Fear”?
Brittany Maynard: She admitted this “did not seem like the right time” but then died a few days later. She feared cancer would take away her autonomy: “The worst thing that could happen to me is that I wait too long.” Where there issues she could have worked on to reduce her current suffering, so she could decide to live longer?
Meryl Comer: As her husband’s caregiver, she considers herself a “POA” (Prisoner of Alzheimer’s). Dr. Gralnick was diagnosed 20 years ago. Yet no professional has ever advised Ms Comer about the ethically accepted method of “Substituted Judgment” to make end-of-life decisions.
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.