A discussion on Friday’s Daily Circuit dug into issues raised by Ezekiel Emanuel, who writes in the Atlantic that he’d like to die at age 75. Emanuel, a doctor and medical ethicist, says he doesn’t intend to commit suicide – only that he’ll stop getting preventive medical attention and let nature take its course.
At 75 and beyond, I will need a good reason to even visit the doctor and take any medical test or treatment, no matter how routine and painless. And that good reason is not “It will prolong your life.” I will stop getting any regular preventive tests, screenings, or interventions. I will accept only palliative—not curative—treatments if I am suffering pain or other disability.
Once I have lived to 75, my approach to my health care will completely change. I won’t actively end my life. But I won’t try to prolong it, either.
Today’s question: At what age would you like to die, and why?