7-25-11: Options at the End of Life
Over the past few months, we’ve been speaking regularly with the writer Dudley Clendinen about how he’s coping with ALS. We wanted to hear about the options available to patients dealing with terminal illness. Tom Hall speaks with Dudley’s doctor, Jeffrey Rothstein, who is the Director of the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins University. He’s also a professor of neurology there. He also speaks with Dr. Linda Ganzini, a professor of psychiatry and medicine at Oregon Health and Science University. She’s done research on that state’s assisted suicide law, known as the “Death with Dignity Act.”
Washington State also has an assisted suicide law, but nothing like that exists in Maryland. Jeff Rothstein talks about the hospice options available here to make the last days of a terminally ill patient comfortable. They also discuss the clinical trials currently underway for ALS — and how that can provide a sense of hope and purpose to patients.
In this web extra, you can hear Dr. Rothstein discuss how the difficulties of ALS can be hard for patients to register — and how important the caregiver relationship can be.
And here, Tom asks whether a family member can reverse an advance medical directive left by a patient.
You can listen to all of our conversations in the series at this link.