The following excerpt is from the op-ed The Death I Want by Roger Kligler, M.D. that first appeared in Boston Magazine on January 15, 2017.
I recently followed through on one of the toughest choices I have ever made: I sued the state of Massachusetts for the right to die peacefully in my sleep, aided by a prescription medication, should my suffering become too great. Let me explain.
I’m a 65-year-old doctor from Falmouth who has lived for nearly 15 years—almost a quarter of my life—with prostate cancer. As a primary care physician who sometimes treated patients with the same disease, I know all too well that my type of cancer is often painful and debilitating at the end. It spreads to tissues and bones, devastates the immune system, and slowly but steadily shuts down major organs. It can affect every aspect of a patient’s existence, from memory to the ability to walk across a room.
For a long time, I did not experience any cancer symptoms, although I suffered serious and life-changing side effects from my treatments. But last spring that started to change: I developed excruciating pain from cancerous cells that had moved into my pelvis.
Click here to read the rest of Dr. Kligler’s op-ed.
The Falmouth Enterprise – Compassionate End Of Life Care (Editorial)
Diane Rehm on WAMU 88.5 – Efforts to Improve The Way We Die