Mark Metcalf

The right to die is “a difficult subject”

By - Feb 10th, 2011 04:00 am
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Photo by Nickolas Nickolic

Last week on this podcast, I spoke with my good friend, Mary Gute-Witte, and she shared the story of her parents’ well-planned decision to end their lives together. That conversation touched on a lot of difficult subjects, and it made me want to further explore end of life issues — specifically, one’s right to choose the way in which they exit this life.

Dr. Bruce Wilson

To be clear, this conversation is dealing more with those who are terminally ill, or whose quality of life has been severely diminished by illness or affliction, and whether or not they should have the choice to end their own suffering. Some U.S. states have legislation in place that allows physicians to aid a person in this choice, however Wisconsin is not one of them.

This is a vast and highly sensitive issue, one that is highly personal, but that has also become politicized in recent years. I’ve invited Doctor Bruce Wilson, a cardiologist and hospice director, to join me in this conversation.

This week, we start by discussing how advances in medicine have removed us from the process of dying, the differences between hospice and palliative care, and how social, cultural and religious factors make the topic of death and dying that much more complex.

Listen now:

(Windows Media Player)


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0 thoughts on “PODCAST: The right to die is “a difficult subject””

  1. Anonymous says:

    A very interesting conversation but I had hoped the Dr. would have talked about respect for end of life decisions among his own colleagues. I watched a very dear family member suffer and continually request assistance in ending his life. His cardiologist flatly refused to respect his request to turn off his pacemaker, even when the request came through his hospice, medical professional caretakers. Fortunately his personal physician respected his decision to forego medication and he found relief within weeks, after 10 months in hospice. Thank you, Mr Metcalf and TCD for airing this series.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for commenting, David. Tune in tomorrow — Dr. Wilson returns to the podcast, and will discuss the issues you mentioned. This is such a huge conversation, but one that is important,so thank you for listening and for sharing your thoughts.

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