Co-founder, in 1987, of the Zen Hospice Project, the first Buddhist hospice in the U.S., Ostaseski currently heads the Metta Institute, created to provide education and training on spirituality in dying.
The long-term tragedy is that we will continue to see cases like this. As medical technologies develop and advance, we will be able to do more to sustain life. It is imperative that we recognize what we are doing and why.
I wrote Come Back Early Today: A Memoir of Love, Alzheimer's and Joy as a love story. It's about the powerful 30-year relationship I had with Edward Theodoru, a delightfully colorful, wickedly eccentric Romanian gentleman and scholar.
I think that we need to re-label the idea of these "panels" so that we are actually talking about how we need to treat people with compassion no matter what decision has to be made concerning a loved one's end of life issues.
In our culture, it seems more acceptable to "rage against the dying of the light" and fight to the bitter end than to take stock of what your life has been about and to be at peace with your coming death.