Real Stories: Physician Assisted Death

Dr. W. Richard Scott’s Story.

W. Richard (Dick) Scott is currently Professor Emeritus in the Department of Sociology with courtesy appointments in the Graduate School of Business, Graduate School of Education, School of Engineering, and School of Medicine, Stanford University. In this poignant short film, Dr. Scott describes the last stages of life of his beloved brother Charles Scott.

Charles had end stage lung disease and opted for physician assisted death. As his closest relative and proxy decision maker, Dick was deeply involved in caring for his brother. At one point in his illness, Charles had severe shortness of breath despite maximal treatments. He was unable to participate in any meaningful activities due to his constant air hunger. Watch this short film, to learn what happened to Charles during the last chapter of his life.


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The cases below are based on real life patient situations. The details have been altered to protect patient confidentiality. The situations depicted below address various clinical questions that arise as patients and families struggle with serious illnesses.

Microlecture 01: What should the death certificate say?

Microlecture 02: “Doc, I am alone in this world”!

Microlecture 03: Not dying soon enough!

Microlecture 04: Are dementia patients eligible for Physician Assisted Death?

Microlecture 05: “Please dial up the Morphine, and let me die”.

Microlecture 06: Will a written request be equivalent to a verbal request?

Microlecture 07: A steroid taper situation.

Microlecture 08: Can we stop giving her food and fluids?

Microlecture 09: Are terminally ill patients with cognitive impairment eligible for aid in dying?

Do you have a specific case situation you want to share? Please use our contact form to share your story if you are willing to have your story used as a teaching tool to create a micro-lecture. If we use your story, we will be happy to credit you as the source if you so wish.

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