Brittany Maynard says a top palliative care doctor’s remarks about her are “disrespectful and disturbing.” Maynard — planning to end her life Nov. 1 with lethal drugs before brain cancer kills her — posted comments Tuesday night on radio host Diane Rehm's website.
Dr. Ira Byock, of the Providence Institute for Human Caring, asserted earlier that Maynard is “being exploited” by a nonprofit advocating for death-with-dignity laws. “Perhaps most disturbingly, Byock claimed that Compassion & Choices had somehow taken advantage of me through ‘exploitation’ and that I feel compelled to die now based on public expectations,” Maynard wrote. “I DO NOT, this is MY choice, I am not that weak. The day is my choice, I have the right to change my mind at any time, it is my right. I am very confident about this. This is a patient right that is critical to understanding Death with Dignity.”
Asked Thursday by Rehm to respond, Byock said: “It’s personally hard for me to hear that I’ve caused this young woman more distress … One of the things I disagree with is that Brittany Maynard has just said again that she thinks it’s her personal choice. But you know, physician-assisted suicide is not a personal act, it’s a social act. Physicians aren’t personal. We are trained by society … So when a physician writes a lethal prescription, it’s a social act.”
— Bill Briggs