Posted on May 18, 2020 at 4:00 AM
Medical aid in dying is available in only a handful of jurisdictions. In contrast, VSED is widely available. Moreover, even in those jurisdictions that have affirmatively legalized MAID, not everyone who wants the option is eligible. So, VSED remains an important option even in MAID jurisdictions.
Unfortunately, MAID advocates often inaccurately characterize VSED. For example, take Ronald Deprez, one of the first individuals to use MAID in Maine. Hhis daughter reports that had he been unable to obtain MAID, her father “would have considered what’s known as VSED. . . . He would have starved himself to death, a process that can take a week or more and is filled with intense pain.”
Those are false statements. In fact, available evidence shows that VSED is not starvation. It is not filled with intense pain. When supported with knowledgeable clinicians, VSED is a compassionate option that permits a peaceful death.