She Killed Herself in an Assisted Suicide, But Could Brittany Maynard Have Been Saved?

This week, CBS’ 60 Minutes reported that FDA has just granted “breakthrough status” for an innovative treatment for glioblastoma brain cancer that was first reported by 60 Minutes on March 29, 2015. Brittany Maynard had glioblastoma and died by physician-assisted suicide on November 1, 2014, just 5 months before the original TV segment aired. Brittany Maynard was a young newlywed who, with enormous media publicity and the support of the pro physician-assisted suicide group Compassion and Choices, announced her intention to commit assisted suicide. She asked for donations to the Brittany Maynard Foundation to raise money to help Compassion and Choices fight for legalization of physician-assisted suicide throughout the US. Using Brittany’s story and foundation, Compassion and Choices was finally successful after years of failed attempts to get a physician-assisted suicide law passed in California. Did Brittany, her doctors, or Compassion and Choices know about the promising clinical trials for glioblastoma reported by 60 Minutes before Brittany took her life with a physician ordered lethal overdose? Although reported medical breakthroughs are frequent and often over-hyped or prove disappointing, information is available at ClinicalTrials.gov, a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world. This service was developed by the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration and made available to the public in February 2000. The Decision to Forego Treatment According to Brittany’s own words: After months of research, my family and I reached a heartbreaking conclusion: There is no treatment that would save my life, and the recommended treatments would have destroyed the time I had...