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Health

Has Brittany Maynard changed the debate around assisted suicide?

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Adrian Clark
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Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg
The federal health care law is being phased in. States are getting ready to fulfill their obligations under the law.

Brittany Maynard ended her life over the weekend.

The spirited newlywed with the aggressive, terminal brain tumor had moved from California to Oregon to take advantage of that state's law that made physician-assisted suicide legal.

Millions watched her video and read the stories about her choice to end her life on her terms, not cancer's terms.

Brittany Maynard was 29 years old.

Could her story give new impetus to right-to-die movements in other states, including here in Michigan?

Dr. Maria Silveira is an associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan. She is a specialist in palliative care and medical ethics.

Silveira says watching the plight of someone coping with a terminal diagnosis is wrenching.

Looking at this case in particular, Silveira says that one of the things she thinks of is, “what’s going on in her mind that would make her think of something like assisted suicide?”

Silveira says she has rarely encountered someone who has taken such a proactive approach.

She says most people are in a fog when diagnosed with a terminal illness, but are encouraged to think positively. However, she says they should consider the possibility of death in order to make all the necessary preparation.

*Listen to our interview with Maria Silveira above.

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