• Breaking News: People REALLY DO Want to Discuss Death and Dying with Doctors

    Coverage for End-of-Life Talks Gaining Ground Pam Belluck, The New York Times (August 31, 2014) Medicare may cover advance care planning that was once decried…

  • Day 28: Full Transcript of House of Lords Debate on Assisted Dying

    Assisted Dying Bill: 2nd Reading on July 18, 2014 United Kingdom House of Lords Hansard (Published July 21, 2014) The UK’s House of Lords has…

  • Day 20: Patrick Stewart Campaigns with Assisted Dying Supporters

    Actor Patrick Stewart joins campaign for ‘assisted dying’
    BBC News (July 18, 2014)

    Somehow, and I don’t entirely know the reasons, I completely missed these interviews with actor Patrick Stewart on the recent House of Lords assisted dying debate.

    He’s got clearly articulated personal reasons for supporting Lord Falconer’s bill and understands how the proposed legislation would work. I also give him credit for supporting a cause that I can imagine some talent agents might suggest you avoid.

    That said, he’s the kind of actor (and big name movie star) who doesn’t flinch when it comes to supporting causes he believes in.

    Good interviews to watch.

    Actor Patrick Stewart joins campaign for ‘assisted dying’ BBC News (July 18, 2014) Somehow, and I don’t entirely know the reasons, I completely missed these…

  • Day 18: The House of Lords Approves Assisted Dying Bill for Committee Review

    Assisted Dying Bill [HL] 2014-15 Private Members’ Bill (Starting in the House of Lords) Sponsor: Lord Falconer of Thoroton (July 18, 2014) It’s an over…

  • Day 17: Moral Maze Radio Programme on Assisted Dying

    Moral Maze: Assisted Dying BBC Radio 4 (July 16, 2014) The Moral Maze programme on BBC radio is a long-running show dedicated to debating and…

  • Day 16: UK Prime Minister David Cameron Answers Assisted Dying Question

    David Cameron ‘not convinced’ over assisted dying bill
    PM speaks of worry about legalising euthanasia, but says he would be very happy for Commons to debate issue
    Rowena Mason and Agencies, The Guardian (July 16, 2014)

    Today saw another interesting development in the lead up to Friday’s debate on assisted dying in the UK’s House of Lords.

    Prime Minister David Cameron was asked about the upcoming debate during the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs). The Prime Minister is asked everything and anything by members of parliament during the PMQs and, in theory, has to quickly formulate some kind of response.

    His answer to the assisted dying question was intriguing. He made it clear that he thought the debate should move forward but that he personally didn’t support a change to the law.

    He used the word ‘euthanasia’ in his response, which is a key word choice. The House of Lords is debating an assisted dying law, not a euthanasia law. Assisted dying laws usually mean a person is given a lethal dose of a drug and then that person has to physically administer and ingest the drug in order to die. Euthanasia occurs when one person puts another person to death, i.e., person A injects person B with a drug so that person B will die.

    The words make a significant legal difference for any kind of death with dignity law.

    You can watch video of the entire (relatively short) exchange starting at 28:20.

    I also suggest watching the faces and reactions of the other MPs. It seems that right now many MPs would rather debate anything other than a law on assisted dying. This could change after Friday.

    David Cameron ‘not convinced’ over assisted dying bill PM speaks of worry about legalising euthanasia, but says he would be very happy for Commons to…

  • Day 15: New Developments in the UK Assisted Dying Debate

    Assisted dying: leading doctors call on Lords to back legalisation Twenty-seven leading figures write to every peer urging them to back Lord Falconer’s private members…

  • Day 14: Important Week for Assisted Dying in England and Wales

    Religious activists have too much say over our right to die The question of assisted dying needs to be discussed rationally and not held to…

  • Day 6: UK Assisted Dying Debates Go On. And On. Again.

    Top doctor says people who are dying need equivalent of midwives to help ease, and possibly end suffering and pain Denis Campbell, The Guardian (July…

  • Radiolab: Am I Going To Die This Year? A Mathematical Puzzle

    Am I Going To Die This Year? A Mathematical Puzzle
    Robert Krulwich, Radiolab (January 08, 2014)

    Radiolab co-host, Robert Krulwich, posted a fascinating piece on a mathematical approach to determining when a person might die. Krulwich explains how he first picked up this topic:

    A few years ago, physicist Brian Skinner asked himself: What are the odds I will die in the next year? He was 25. What got him wondering about this, I have no idea, but, hey, it’s something everybody asks. When I can’t wedge my dental floss between my two front teeth, I ask it, too. So Brian looked up the answer — there are tables for this kind of thing — and what he discovered is interesting. Very interesting. Even mysterious.

    It turns out that a fascinating 8-year rule emerges for most human lifespans. I will let you read all about it.

    Tick-Tock goes the clock.

    And welcome to 2014.

    Skull Clock

    Am I Going To Die This Year? A Mathematical Puzzle Robert Krulwich, Radiolab (January 08, 2014) Radiolab co-host, Robert Krulwich, posted a fascinating piece on…

  • Radically Extending Life and Choosing to Die

    Living to 120 and Beyond: Americans’ Views on Aging, Medical Advances and Radical Life Extension Pew Research Center (August 2013) If new medical treatments could…

  • Bioethicists and Bioethics at the End of Life

    A Life-or-Death Situation by Robin Marantz Henig, New York Times Magazine (July 21, 2013) As a bioethicist, Peggy Battin fought for the right of people…