There Are Worse Things Than Dying

“There are worse things than dying.” I can’t tell you how many times I heard one of my patients tell me this during my 30 years of practice. The torture of severe pain robs a person of life’s pleasure and for some the only way out is death. In my book, The Painful Truth, I describe an old man I met as an intern. He was a veteran without a family and experiencing terminal, non cancer pain. He begged me to help him die. His words and face continue to haunt me.

Today one of the country’s premier journalist, Diane Rehm discussed her new book on the right to die with NPR host Steve Simon. It is worth listening to. Diane’s husband recently passed after a long history of medical problems. She wonders why we can’t be more humane with people who want to stop their suffering like her husband.

This is a serious topic that should be discussed more broadly. But I encourage a discussion about how all suffering can be addressed more humanely whether it involves a terminal disease or not.

This is a difficult topic for most of us. My mind tells me we should be rational and allow a compassionate exit for those who want it. But my heart struggles with those thoughts having watched my mother die within the past year also with little hope for a meaningful existence.

This has to.


Purchase my book The Painful Truth: What Chronic Pain Is Really Like and Why It Matters to Each of Us (available on Amazon) or read a free excerpt here.the painful truth, lynn webster, md, chronic pain
Find me here:
Amazon  and Facebook
Copyright 2016, Lynn Webster, MD

Leave a Comment