The District of Columbia is considering enacting the Death with Dignity Act (the “Act”) that would allow terminally ill individuals with six months or less to live the ability to receive a lethal dose of medication and end their life. Several procedural steps lie ahead for the Act now that the D.C. Council has voted to place the Act on the legislative agenda for an upcoming meeting. However, it is unclear whether there is sufficient support for the Act to be made into law. Arguments in favor of the Act revolve around giving an individual control over how and when they choose to die, but advocates against the Act are concerned that individuals’ lives will be prematurely terminated.
The issue once again raises the importance of planning. Planning for incapacity and planning for death. Both sides of the death with dignity argument seem to have a common thread involving control, which is exactly what planning gives you. Planning gives you control over who is in charge of your medical decisions when you are not able to make those decisions. Planning gives you control of whether you want life-prolonging procedures when doctors have certified that nothing more can be done except provide comfort care. Planning gives you control of how you want to be remembered in those final moments. Planning gives your family members peace of mind to know that they are truly abiding by your wishes, which in turn may make them feel as if they are in control of the situation. Planning gives your family time to prepare for a life without you in it and to try to control the emotional turmoil that realization creates. Ultimately, planning is a gift to yourself to know that that particular item on a lengthy checklist can be crossed off so that you can enjoy life knowing that your end of life is in the best order you can create. So, regardless of which side of the death with dignity argument you fall, think of the planning that can be done to control your death with dignity. #endoflife #estateplanning #advancedirective #livingwill @deathwdignity @NHDD @bgnthebgn