Research: “A fate worse than death”
“A fate worse than death” is a journalistic cliché. But for the terminally ill, such fates do exist: death really can seem preferable to a lifetime of pain and suffering. The Economist reports on Dr Emily Rubin’s study over an eight-month period, beginning in July 2015. All 180 participants were over 60 and suffering from serious illnesses. They were asked by medical staff to hypothesise whether they would prefer to die than be in progressively worse vegetative states. Asking people approaching, or threatened with death, how they feel about it, and the moment at which they would like it to come, is a welcome development.