(NBC News) It’s hard to look at images of 29-year-old Brittany Maynard and see anything other than the picture of health.
But terminal brain cancer caused pain and suffering so unbearable that Brittany took a lethal dose of medication over the weekend.
She’d planned her death with the guidance of her doctors in Oregon.
Brittany’s story has provided a platform for a national conversation about end-of-life care and decisions, a conversation experts say should start early in adulthood with close family or friends.
“It’s the thing that people don’t like to think of, but of course being alive has a 100% death rate,” says Consumer Reports’ Nancy Metcalf.
People have opinions about their own death. A survey from Consumer Reports finds a majority of Americans would rather spend their final days at home than in a hospital setting, but the same survey found just one in five adults has completed a living will or advance directive, and more than half have never heard of a palliative care specialist who can help those facing the end of life.
The hope is that a story like Brittany Maynard’s may inspire others to talk about their own end-of-life wishes.
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