When I talk to my friends at the Margaret Schweinhaut Senior Center, most seem to feel as I do. At age 77, I'm not pain free due to various conditions, but I still find life worthwhile even after the death of my dear husband. When I know I'm entering the late stage of a terminal disease, I could hold out longer knowing I had the option of getting medical aid in dying if I found the pain utterly unbearable and had no hope of improvement. I would be less apt to panic and commit suicide because I had control over my response to the pain, and I would be more willing to take part in clinical trials if any were available.
I would love to see a study comparing the longevity of people who opted for aid in dying in those states where it is legal with those who didn't opt for aid and who had the same disease and the same symptoms and test results and were treated by the same doctors in the very late stage of the disease. Also, I'd like to know the type of situation in which the people in each group died. I think I'm pretty typical and I know that the majority of the people who opt for aid in dying never avail themselves of that aid. I feel that peace of mind would help me carry on. I'd have some power over the disease that was killing me.