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End-Stage Myeloma- Medical Aid In Dying

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“Cherie Rineker…end-stage multiple myeloma survivor, discusses her move to Colorado – a state that allows terminally ill patients access to medical aid in dying, or Death With Dignity”

End-stage multiple myeloma is painful at best, agonizing at worst. It only makes sense then, that there are several layers to the discussion of medical aid in dying (MAID) also known as Death with Dignity. I will outline each issue below. Cherie Rineker understands the best and the worst of end-stage MM all-to-well.

First and foremost, I encourage readers to click on the top link below “Living and Dying With Dignity.” Cherie Rineker, multiple myeloma survivor and contributor, is interviewed by Andrew Shorr about Cherie’s decision to access Colorado’s end-of-life options.

In my opinion, no MM survivor has worked harder, no MM survivor has fought harder to manage their multiple myeloma than Cherie Rineker has. Interviewer Andrew Shorr repeatedly asks Cherie about her past MM therapies, her past clinical trials. At about a seven year survival, Cherie has outlived the average five year survival rate yet is planning for end-stage multiple myeloma.

I think like Cherie. In other words, I think all MM patients must have a plan A and plan B ready to go, just in case. I understand that concepts like MAID are difficult for MM survivors to consider, much less follow-through with, but the alternative, doing nothing, could be far worse.

If I understand medical aid in dying laws, there are two requirements that must be satisfied in order for a person like Cherie to qualify for MAID.

  1. A diagnosis/prognosis of less than six months
  2. A diagnosis, by at least two qualified physicians, of the person’s mental stability

I agree that MM survivors cannot be depressed and apply for MAID. Just watching the video interview linked below shows a clear thinking Cherie Rineker.

However, I have a problem with requirement number 1. Even the most experienced multiple myeloma specialist has difficulty determining that a MM survivor has only six months to live. While a MM survivor like Cherie Rineker may live longer than six months, I am in-favor of her being given the right to pursue death with dignity.

Learn More About End-stage diagnoses- click now

This is a tough issue for any multiple myeloma patient to discuss. What do you think?

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • MM Survivor
  • MM Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Living and Dying With Dignity

“Published on October 25, 2019-

Cherie Rineker, 51-year-old wife, mother and passionate contributor to Patient Power and the multiple myeloma community, discusses her move to Colorado – a state that allows terminally ill patients access to medical aid in dying, or Death With Dignity. During this interview, Cherie shares how, after 16 lines of therapy, many hospitalizations and incredible physical and emotional stress, she shifted her focus to quality of life.

Watch as she poignantly describes the impact of her treatment journey and what led to her decision to use end-of-life options. In the time between the recording and release of this program, Cherie’s health declined rapidly, and she went to Colorado to die with dignity on October 23, 2019.”

Should Medical Aid in Dying Be Part of Hospice Care?

“Hospice is an integral component of end-of-life care, a service designed to deliver supportive care to those in the final phase of a terminal illness. The aim is to make the patient as comfortable and free of pain as possible.

However, now that medical aid in dying (MAID) is available in several states, as well as in some other countries, the question arises: should this option be included among the services that the hospice has to offer?”

Inexact Science: Is Patient Eligible for Medical Aid in Dying?

“For patients to be eligible for Medical Aid in Dying (MAID), they must have a prognosis of less than 6 months to live, and the mental capacity to make an informed decision. These are legal requirements in the states that allow the procedure. But how easy is it for physicians to be sure that patients meet these requirements?

In a session held during the recent inaugural  National Clinicians Conference on Medical Aid in Dying, experts explored these two essential issues and the challenges that clinicians may face when evaluating patients.

How Long Do I Have, Doc?

“One of the most challenging issues in working with patients is that of prognosis…”

Meaningful changes in end-of-life care among patients with myeloma

“…Patients who were transfusion-dependent, on dialysis, or survived for less than one year were more likely to enroll late in hospice and experience aggressive medical care at the end of life. Gains in hospice use for myeloma decedents were not accompanied by increases in late enrollment or aggressive medical care. These findings suggest meaningful improvements in end-of-life care for this population…”

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