News and Blogs

What is a “good death” and how can we create it?

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OK to Die Blog
Tuesday, 02 October 2012

I have decided that if I am going to continually encourage my very elderly and terminally ill patients to decline artificial life support measures at the end of the road, and instead, choose a “good death,” then I need to be able to explain and provide this “better” alternative more effectively.

Read the full article at OK to Die Blog


When CPR Shouldn’t Be An Option

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OK to Die
Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The maxim of “first, do no harm” should be extended to not just the patient, but also to the families of the dying patient in our care. We should not harm their emotional lives and consciences by asking them to make decisions about CPR that are ultimately futile.  Such a burden is pointless and creates unnecessary suffering.

Read the full article at OK to Die


When Prolonging Death Seems Worse Than Death : NPR

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Fresh Air : NPR
October 9, 2012

Many of us think of death as the worst possible outcome for a terminally ill patient, but Judith Schwarz disagrees.

Schwarz, a patient supporter at the nonprofit Compassion & Choices, says prolonging death can be a far worse fate. For many patients, good palliative or hospice care can alleviate suffering, yet "a small but significant proportion of dying patients suffer intolerably," Schwarz writes.

Based in the New York area, Compassion & Choices is an organization that helps terminally ill patients and their families make informed and thoughtful end-of-life decisions to hasten a patient's death. These decisions are not made impulsively, Schwarz tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "Nobody makes this choice unless the burdens of living have so consistently, day after day, outweighed all benefit."

Read the full article and/or listen to the interview (37:54) at Fresh Air : NPR


Home Funerals : A Full Measure of Devotion

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Obit Magazine
by Joyce Gemperlein
May 12, 2009

(DIY) home funeral movement

Would you, could you, say goodbye to a deceased family member by washing the body, laying it on a bed of dry ice – perhaps, like in old-timey Westerns, on the kitchen table right where the breakfast dishes were – gather the proper burial documents and dig a suitable hole?

More and more baby boomers in the United States are asking themselves that question lately, say members of the do-it-yourself (DIY) home funeral movement, which began about two decades ago.

Read the full article at Obit Magazine


Big Bird learns about death (VIDEO)

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Uploaded by Feb 16, 2011

The actor who played Mr. Hooper on Sesame Street, Will Lee, died. The Sesame Street people decided to let the character die too, and used it as an opportunity to teach children about death.

This clip demonstrates how to treat death in an honest and helpful way better than any evasive or euphemistic gibberish I've heard from allegedly mature people.

Watch the video (4:33) on YouTube

Thanks to Confessions of a Funeral Director for alerting us to this video.


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