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Patients and Caregiver Stories

Asking agonizing questions at the end of life

LOS ANGELES — More times than she can count, Carin van Zyl has heard terminally ill patients beg to die. They tell her that they can’t handle the pain, that the nausea is unbearable, that the anxiety is overwhelming.

If she were in the same situation, she, too, would want life-ending medication, even though she doubts she would ever take it. “I would want an escape hatch,” she said.

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