While in Colorado I worked with a number of persons living with neurologic illness who made the decision to utilize the Colorado End of Life Options act (Medical Aid in Dying – MAID). Even though I was in support of this option, I held many stereotypes about the people who made this decision. Once I started to talk to these patients and their families I saw that the assumptions most of us hold about MAID are wrong. First and foremost, the majority of people choosing MAID are dynamic and brave individuals who love life and are not afraid of death. People come to this decision for a number of reasons, sometimes to avoid suffering, but very often to avoid dwindling. As one of my patient’s therapists described it, these illnesses rob people of what makes them who they are. MAID is not about giving up but about preserving what’s most important and about not giving in to the indignities of illness.
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