A Palliative Care Doctor Weighs California’s New Aid-In-Dying Law
By Angus Chen
When she first heard that California’s new aid in-dying law was signed, Dr. Carin van Zyl was relieved to hear that assisted death would be an option for her if she ever needed it herself. But as a palliative care doctor at the University Of Southern California Keck School Of Medicine, she’s worried the law might lead people to consider lethal medications over other options that may better accommodate their wishes.
“Patients feel as though their choices are between untreated suffering or physician-assisted suicide,” she told NPR’s Renee Montagne. “Palliative medicine, when it’s applied skillfully and at the right time, often relieves most of the suffering that prompts people to ask for [death] in the first place,” she says.