New York Filmmaker Chronicles Parents’ Peaceful Deaths Using CA Medical Aid-in-Dying Law in Amazon Prime Docuseries: “Take Me Out Feet First”

Docuseries Is Timely Since NY Lawmakers Face June 7 Deadline to Pass Medical Aid-in-Dying Bill
June 4, 2024

A native New York filmmaker, Serene Meshel-Dillman, chronicles her parents’ use of California’s End of Life Option Act and other terminally ill advocates for medical aid in dying across the country in a new documentary series streaming now on Amazon Prime Video: “Take Me Out Feet First.” 

The docuseries is developed in partnership with Compassion & Choices, a non-profit advocacy group leading the campaign to pass the New York Medical Aid in Dying Act. You can watch the first six episodes of season 1 by clicking here: amazon.com/dp/B0CX3MP6K1. 

Screenshot of "Take Me Out Feet First" featured on Amazon Prime's Streaming Platform

The series is timely because supporters of New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act are pressing the Legislature to pass this popular bill (72% support) it has debated for 10 years before the 2024 session ends June 7

Serene attended The School of American Ballet, Tenafly High School, University of Vermont, worked at an advertising agency in New York City, and founded a company that imported baskets from Haiti, before moving to Los Angeles to work in production. Her love of visual arts is reflected in her early still photography work.

Episode 1 features Serene’s parents, New York natives who eventually moved to California in the early 1990s. Her mother, Miriam Reiner Meshel, used California’s End of Life Option Act in 2017 to peacefully end her suffering from a very rare, aggressive cancer. Her father, Robert, initially opposed his wife using the option. Years later, after being diagnosed himself with cancer, he changed his mind.

“I’m sharing these stories because they show the courage, determination, and love both my mom and dad embodied in their final days. They taught us that there’s grace in being in charge of your own destiny. But they would not have had that option if they still had lived in New York,” said Serene. “Take Me Out Feet First’ is their legacy. I hope it inspires New York’s Legislature to finally pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act.”

“To quote her [Miriam], she didn’t want to suffer and she didn’t want me to suffer,’” says Robert Meshel in this episode 1 clip. “I’m glad she died peacefully watching Baryshnikov dance to his heartbeat … anytime somebody avoids pain and suffering, how can you ever argue with that?”  

Episode 6 features four experts in the field of medical aid in dying. 

Kim Callinan, president/CEO, Compassion & Choices/Compassion & Choices Action Network, which led the campaign to pass the California End of Life Option Act 

“It [medical aid in dying] is a really beautiful final goodbye,” says Callinan in this episode 6 clip. “And so while it doesn’t take the grief of death away, it takes away what we often see, which is, grief around whether or not that person was cared for in the way they would have wanted to.”

Look for season 2 on Amazon later this year.

People story on “Take Me Out Feet First”

Filmmaker Documents Parents’ Choice of Medical Aid in Dying (Exclusive) (people.com)

Variety story on “Take Me Out Feet First”

variety.com/2024/film/news/take-me-out-feet-first-docuseries-amazon-prime-video-1235993717/

Compassion & Choices improves care, expands options and empowers everyone to chart their end-of-life journey. CompassionAndChoices.org  

English Language Media Contact: Sean Crowley, 202.495.8525, [email protected]

Spanish Language Media Contact: Patricia A. González-Portillo, (323) 819-0310, [email protected] 

Compassion & Choices
Media Contacts

Sean Crowley
Media Relations Director
[email protected]

Patricia A. González-Portillo
National Latino Media Director
[email protected]
(323) 819 0310

Compassion & Choices
8156 S Wadsworth Blvd #E-162
Littleton, CO 80128

Mail contributions directly to:
Compassion & Choices Gift Processing Center
PO Box 485
Etna, NH 03750

VICTORY: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed the improved End-of-Life Options Act.

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