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Colorectal Cancer: Nearing End Of LIfe

If You Choose To End Life Early

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Survivorship A to Z does not recommend ending life early. However, we do consider it to be our mandate to provide unbiased information so you can make an informed choice.

If you are thinking of ending life early, consider whether it is because of depression. Depression frequently accompanies end of life. To help determine whether you do have depression, and, if so, what you can do about it, click here

Ending life early may be a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Still, if you want to end life early:

  • Stopping eating and drinking is a legal way to hasten death, usually within two weeks. In a survey of hospice nurses in Oregon offsite link, published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2003, respondents reported that most of their terminally ill patients who had deliberately refused food and fluids had “a good death,” with low levels of pain or suffering.(Voluntarily stopping eating and drinking is called V.S.E.D. for shorthand in medical circles).  The Supreme Court has ruled that a person can refuse medical intervention, and Congress has acted with the Patient Self Determination Act.  V.S.E.D. is legal in every state
  • An easy to understand how-to book is available called Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying by Derek Humphry. If your local bookstores doesn't carry the book, it is available through such online booksellers as Barnes and Noble offsite link or Amazon offsite link.
  • Assisted Suicide is legal in a few states in the United States. Assisted suicide is also legal in several countries in Europe. To learn more, click here.
  • It is worth noting that it is common in the US for the timing of deaths to be negotiated between a patient and/or his or her family, and a doctor. If you are going to discuss the issue with your doctor, the doctor may feel more comfortable with the discussion if the meeting is one-on-one. If there is any question about your mental competence, consider adding the family member or friend that the doctor thinks of as someone with your welfare in mind who is competent to make decisions.

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