I've helped thousands of people with end-of-life decisions and I can tell you that the process is beyond stressful. It's extremely confusing and it's racked with guilt. As we mourn the death of Joan Rivers, here is what we can learn from her daughter's brave decision.
These stories (I'm sure there are others) make vivid the embarrassments and fears of patients; their efforts to deal with deterioration, endure pain, and cope with unhinging and detachment. The reader, the viewer, and the re-reader can take cues from caregivers who ease the way to acceptance.
Have we done what we need to do to protect the people closest to us who will be left behind? Are our spouses, our children, or are partners prepared to make important decisions on our behalf, and have we given them clear instructions for doing so? I
In study after study, researchers have discovered clear signs of active consciousness in dozens of vegetative patients. A 2009 study found that 40 percent of patients diagnosed as vegetative are at least somewhat conscious.