PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Brittany Maynard urged a palliative care specialist, Dr. Ira Byock, whom she never has met, to stop misrepresenting her case prior to his debate with Compassion & Choices Pres. Barbara Coombs Lee on today's Diane Rehm Show.
In comments Brittany posted on the website for Rehm's nationally-syndicated NPR show, she denied claims by Byock and other opponents of death with dignity that Compassion & Choices is using her to advance the aid-in-dying movement. Rehm read part of Brittany's comments during her show's 11am-12pm ET segment. Here is link to the segment's audio: http://bit.ly/DRshowaudio. Here is the link to all of Brittany's comments: http://bit.ly/DRshowBrittMaynard. They also are cut and pasted below.
"I am Brittany Maynard and it concerns me that Dr. Ira Byock will speak on my 'behalf' at all again. I watched a special on PBS where this same individual spoke about my case as though he knew personal details about me, saying some things that were quite frankly not true.
"For example, he said that a gentle death would be available to me easily through hospice, unfortunately that would be after a great length of time, with lots of suffering (physical and emotional), and loss for my young body. He is right that this is not being accomplished successfully for many terminally ill Americans on a widespread basis across our country. This needs to change too, I agree with him there.
"But perhaps most disturbingly, Byock claimed that Compassion & Choices had somehow taken advantage of me through 'exploitation' and that I feel compelled to die now based on public expectations. I DO NOT, this is MY choice, I am not that weak. The day is my choice, I have the right to change my mind at any time, it is my right. I am very confident about this. This is a patient right that is critical to understanding Death with Dignity.
"The claim of exploitation is utterly false considering I had gone through the entire process of moving, physician approval for DWD [death with dignity], and filled my prescription before I EVER even spoke to anyone at Compassion and Choices about volunteering and decided to share my story. I support the organization because I support the cause. I believe this is a healthcare right and CHOICE that should be available to ALL terminally ill Americans.
"I made my decisions based on my wishes, clinical research, choices, discussions with physicians, and logic. I am not depressed or suicidal or on a 'slippery slope.' I have been in charge of this choice, gaining control of a terrifying terminal disease through the application of my own humane logic. We as a country have real issues with the way doctors are trained to speak about, educate and embrace realities of death.
"As a terminally ill patient, I find it disrespectful and disturbing when people discuss my personal health with details that are not accurate to push an agenda. My request is that physicians speak only what they directly know to be factually true and have a right to discuss. The best change for all our community, physicians and patients, will come from us pulling together and developing policies to protect the severely ill based on honesty, education, and humane treatment of suffering.
"I wish nothing but peace and healing for whom it is available, and a peaceful passing of comfortable choice for whom it is not."
A campaign to authorize death with dignity nationwide in Brittany's name is at www.thebrittanyfund.org.
Compassion & Choices is the nation's oldest and largest nonprofit organization working to improve care and expand choice at the end of life. Leading the end-of-life choice movement for more than 30 years, we support, educate and advocate. More information is available at: www.compassionandchoices.org.
Contact: Sean Crowley, 202-495-8520-c, firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE Compassion & Choices