ELDR Magazine's "Right To Die" National Survey: Should Your Doctor Help You Die?

Share Article

ELDR magazine and ELDR.com today released the results of a national survey on the "right to die" issue or what some call "physician-assisted suicide." It reveals that over 80% of adults say the right to die is a personal decision, not that of government or religion; that two-thirds want physician-assisted right to die legal, as in Oregon; that half of U.S adults could eventually face a right to die caretaker role for a loved one; and that only half of adults over 60 have a living will or health care directive.

A painful or prolonged death is something everyone worries about

ELDR magazine and ELDR.com today released the results of a national survey of adults on the "right to die" issue or what some call "physician-assisted suicide." The survey showed that over 80 percent believe the choice to end one's life is a personal decision, with two-thirds of adults saying they want physician-assisted "death with dignity" legal, as in Oregon.

The ELDR Magazine "Right To Die" National Survey, conducted by Knowledge Networks and statistically projectable to the U.S. adult population, also revealed that only half of adults over 60 have a living will or advance health care directive. These legal documents specify what a person's wishes are if, for example, they are in a persistent vegetative state. Such a document could have prevented the prolonged and agonizing situation the family of Florida woman Terri Schiavo endured.

The survey is in conjunction with ELDR's Summer issue cover article, "Perfect Ending," which tells the story and reflections of a physician who had clandestinely given patients, who were terminally ill and in great physical pain, the means to end their lives. The physician profiled is not identified.

"A painful or prolonged death is something everyone worries about," said Dave Bunnell, editor-in-chief of ELDR. "Yet too few of us plan ahead to be prepared for this possibility. Our survey is telling people if they act now, they can be in charge. You don't have to leave this entirely to fate."

The ELDR survey comes as Washington state proponents gather signatures for a voter initiative which, if successful, would make that state the second after Oregon to legalize physician-assisted "death with dignity." 225,000 valid voter signatures need to be presented to Washington state officials by July 3 for the I-1000 initiative to appear on the November 2008 ballot.

Other results from the ELDR Magazine "Right To Die" National Survey include:

  • Half of American adults (49.1 percent) have parents, close relatives or friends in their senior years for whom they might eventually be considered a guardian caretaker or legal trustee.
  • 82 percent want the option, if they were suffering at end-of-life, of being sedated into unconsciousness, even though this might hasten their death.
  • 93.6 percent want artificial life support stopped if they were in a persistent vegetative state, where mental functioning had ceased and it was highly unlikely they would regain consciousness.
  • Fewer than 25 percent have a living will or advance health care directive which states their wishes if they were incapacitated or in persistent vegetative state. Only half of those over 60 do.

Complete survey results can be found at http://www.eldr.com.

Survey Methodology: This survey of 1,070 U.S. adults was conducted for ELDR by Knowledge Networks and is statistically projectable to the U.S. population. The survey was conducted between March 13 and March 25, 2008 using Knowledge Network's statistically valid, random probability online consumer panel. The sampling margin of error is ± 4.7 percent for all respondents; ± 5.9 percent for the 20-59 age bracket and ± 5.0 percent for the 60-plus age bracket.

ELDR Magazine Cover: The cover of ELDR's Summer issue features a photograph of elder model Olga Barber, simulating lying in repose seemingly after a pleasant death experience. ELDR was recently chosen from among 700 new magazines as one of the 15 "Hottest Magazine Launches" of 2007 by Media Industry Newsletter (MIN) and University of Mississippi professor Samir Husni, "Mr. Magazine."

About ELDR Media: ELDR is a media company which seeks to inspire the affluent elder to live a more meaningful life, to celebrate the joys and to navigate the challenges of aging. ELDR is the first media company targeting the 60-plus active and affluent demographic. ELDR was founded by senior housing innovator Chad Lewis and pioneering magazine editor and entrepreneur David Bunnell. ELDR Media LLC is headquartered in Berkeley, California. Visit ELDR online at http://www.eldr.com.

#    #    #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Frank Cioffi
Visit website