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End of Life Issues


Articles and Publications
re: End of Life Issues



Articles & Publications About End of Life Issues

  • Advanced Cancer Care Planning (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
    What patients and families need to know about their choices when facing serious illness; lays out the options when cancer is found to be advanced.
  • Confronting Questions of Life and Death ( – 9/7/09)
    Prior planning can ease tough family decisions.
    Patti's Comment: Have you discussed your preferences with your loved ones?
  • Court: You Can Appeal Medicare Decisions About Hospice Services (New York Times – 9/7/12)
    A California court decision has resulted in an important clarification, determining that Medicare beneficiaries and their survivors have a right to appeal the denial of services by a hospice provider. See Back v. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health Services
  • Death in the Family (New York Times – 12/2/07)
    Efforts by ex-governor Booth Gardner (now suffering from Parkinson's) to bring physician-assisted suicide to the State of Washington. Includes argument that physician-assisted suicide is a threat to women.
  • Easing End-Of-Life Sorrows (HealthLink)
    Death can be hardest on the people left behind. An Advance Directive or Health Care Proxy can ensure that a person's wishes are respected and ease the stress on family members and friends. Hospice and palliative care can provide dignity and comfort in the final days, even when death comes suddenly.
  • End of Life Choices: A View From the Front Line (New York Times – 11/11/08)
    Compassion & Choices is a non-profit organization best known for its efforts to legalize physician assistance for the dying.
  • Legal History of Medical Aid in Dying (video) (11/14/17) 
    ​Here is a video of Professor Thaddeus Mason Pope’s presentation of the University of New Mexico Law School, "Legal History of Medical Aid in Dying."
  • Letting Go – What Should Medicine Do When it Can't Save Your Life? (New Yorker – 8/2/10)
    Modern medicine is good at staving off death with aggressive interventions—and bad at knowing when to focus, instead, on improving the days that terminal patients have left.
  • Making a Plan to Ease Grief
    Patients who have no plans could end up with a court-appointed guardian. To get a copy of a living will from the Visiting Nurse Association of SE Michigan, see "Five Wishes."
    Patti's Comment: Nice info on leaving guidelines with loved ones from the firm to which I am Of Counsel.
  • Medical Treatment of Dementia Patients at the End of Life: Can the Law Accommodate the Personal Identity and Welfare Problems?
    Legal approaches to decision-making in the area of the medical care of incompetent persons are generally based on respect for the patient’s autonomy, or protection of her welfare, or some combination of the two. Advance decision-making and the substituted judgment test are the two examples of autonomy-based legal approaches to incompetent individuals. If the incompetent individual was previously competent, her earlier autonomous decisions regarding medical treatment can be projected into the future once she becomes incompetent. 
  • New law lets some access Facebook, email of the dead (4/3/16) 
    While mega tech corporations like Google and Facebook tout privacy concerns, lawyers representing families or loved ones fought to access electronic communications like emails and other digital property.
  • Panel Urges Overhauling Health Care at End of Life  (New York Times – 9/17/2014)
    The country’s system for handling end-of-life care is largely broken and should be overhauled at almost every level, a national panel concluded in a report released on Wednesday.
  • Physician-Assisted Death – From Oregon to Washington State (New England Journal of Medicine – 12/11/08)
    Residents of the state of Washington voted 58% to 42% to allow physician-assisted suicide.
  • Save Money on a Funeral (The Consumerist – 3/6/09)
    Someone wrote to us this week that a person in his family is terminally ill, and that he was told "that the cost of the casket, funeral, viewing, and burial would possibly exceed 12,000 dollars." He thinks that's an "exorbitant amount of money," and so do we.
  • What Do We Advise Our Clients? (Margaret Dore – King County Bar Assn.)
    A client wants to know about the new Death with Dignity Act, which legalizes physician-assisted suicide in Washington. Do you take the politically correct path and agree that it’s the best thing since sliced bread? Or do you do your job as a lawyer and tell him that the Act has problems and that he may want to take steps to protect himself?
  • The Green Hereafter (Slate – 2/17/09)
    How to leave an environmentally friendly corpse.
  • The New Alone ( – Jan. 27, 2008)
    Because of profound changes in how Americans organize and sustain — and often break up — our families, our nation will soon confront a never-before-seen shift in how we die and whom we'll have around us when we do. And the likelihood is that on every level, we will be dying much more alone.
  • Time to Get it Right at the End of Life  (Medpage 9/22/15)
    Differences between DNRs, ADs, and POLSTs illustrated in video parody. Video hopes to clarify some of the misunderstandings around these orders that can potentially lead to inappropriate care.
  • What an End-of-Life Advisor Could Have Told Me (New York Times – 11/15/08)
    A first-person account of this reporter's mother's end-of-life choices.
  • When Medicine is Futile (New York Times – 9/18/14)
    “Dying in America,” a new report by the Institute of Medicine that argues that we subject dying patients to too many treatments, denying them a peaceful death. 
  • Why Doctors Die Differently (Wall Street Journal – 2/25/12)
    It's not something that we like to talk about, but doctors die, too. What's unusual about them is not how much treatment they get compared with most Americans, but how little.
  • Help for Planning End-of-Life-Care (New York Times – 01/10/13)
    A new Web site helps the elderly designate a "medical decision maker" and clarify preferences for health care.

Recommended Books & Publications for Sale About End of Life Issues

  • Hard Choices for Loving People – Hank Dunn, Chaplain
    CPR, artificial feeding, comfort care, and the patient with a life-threatening illness.
  • Wants, Wishes and Wills – Wynne A. Whitman, Esq. and Shawn D. Glisson, M.D.
    Encourages readers to tackle issues surrounding disease and death in an easy-to-understand, practical, and manageable way.

More PEKD Advocacy pages about End of Life Issues: