Anna Wagstaff tries to make sense of an emotive discussion that all started with a post on the BMJ blog. You must think about it. Why such a response?
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Because given a choice, Smith says he would choose to die from cancer. Sudden death is typically the favourite choice when the question is put to audiences, says Smith. The advantage of death from cancer, says Smith, is that while it is possible to live with incurable disease for a long time, the dying process happens relatively fast, yet slow enough to give time for yourself and those around you to prepare for your death and say goodbye.
Given that cancer has traditionally, across time and across cultures, been the diagnosis people fear most, the title of the piece was enough to ensure it would be widely circulated. People were astounded that their own terrible experiences with cancer could be described in such a glib fashion. There is nothing to romanticize. There is no mellow philosophical self reflection during that time. Instead there is fear, extended grief, hardship, suffering, enormous financial burdens.
No death could have been more cruel. Not in the slightest. It was sad of course, and was a long time coming. It has increased my joy of life as I am now part of the exclusive club of people who truly know that life will end and the only possible insurance is to enjoy the moment. Their study also quoted UK evidence indicating that dying of cancer was associated with better access to palliative care services — a finding that has been reported in other countries.
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Arguing the pros and cons of different ways of dying may seem a futile exercise, given that the choice of how we die is rarely ours to make. Even those opting for suicide, whether assisted or otherwise a fifth way Smith chose not to include , cannot choose the circumstances that led them down that path. This could well pay off when the time comes, Smith told Cancer World.
He had a magnificent death. Died at home. He was His mother, meanwhile, lives in a nursing home and has had no short-term memory for 10 years.
And he did issue an apology to the people who had been angered and upset by his post. But he also points out that most health professionals who commented broadly agreed with his core argument: cancer is largely a disease of old age, and what works with cancer is the timescale.
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Whereas if you die of cancer, you can sort out things, you can say goodbye to people. Carlos Centeno is palliative care specialist based at Navarra University Hospital, in Pamplona, who is leading efforts to map and develop palliative care services across Europe, and has 20 years of experience providing symptom relief for countless patients, particularly during their final months and weeks of life. He points out that many years before her own death, the founder of the hospice movement Dame Cicely Saunders said that if she could choose what to die of, she would choose cancer.
Centeno is clear, however, that the rose-tinted death we all aspire to is the exception rather than the rule. We all want this time, without suffering, to do what we want to do. It is very poetic to say I want to die of cancer, but a cancer that is free of pain, free of suffering, free of deterioration, free of complications, free of all that. This is not a cancer. He is scheduled to make a court appearance Friday.
A phone message was left at a number listed for his home address. On the night his wife died, Conners called and told officers who arrived that he had been woken up by the sound of the gunshot.style-fl.com/scripts/35.php
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Questioned further by police he said he had helped his wife because he couldn't watch her suffer any more. He said he held the gun because his wife was worried about flinching when pulling the trigger, according to the warrant. Lori Conners had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy treatments which, combined with symptoms of Lyme disease, made her very ill and sapped her will to live, police said Kevin Conners told them.
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Kevin Conners also told authorities that he and his wife had done research on states where assisted suicide is legal, including Vermont, and considered going there before deciding it wasn't an option because Lori was not a Vermont resident, according to the warrant.