October 21st and 28th: Two-Part Series on Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking

The Completed Life Initiative celebrated the launch of “Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking: A Compassionate, Widely Available Option for Hastening Death,” published by Oxford University Press, a book that will surely define the clinical ethics standards for a wider range of end of life care options across the United States. Author Dr. Timothy E. Quill is Completed Life‘s Clinical Advisor; authors Professor Paul T. Menzel and Thaddeus M. Pope are members of our esteemed Advisory Board; Judith K. Schwarz is a similarly esteemed colleague who is Clinical Director at our partner organization, End of Life Choices New York.  

At the Book Launch Event on October 21st, our four authors discussed the process of writing the book, the implications for standard of care and clinical guidelines, and more. The subsequent event on Clinical Considerations of VSED on October 28th took a deeper dive into the clinical challenges that can arise in complex care scenarios, such as advantages,  and limitations of Stopping Eating and Drinking by Advance Directive (SED by AD), Comfort Feeding Only (CFO), or Minimum Comfort Feeding Only (MCFO).

FIRST EVENT – BOOK LAUNCH: Thursday, October 21st, 2021

Presenters: Judith K. Schwarz, Timothy E. Quill, Paul T. Menzel, Thaddeus M. Pope


Presenters: Judith K. Schwarz RN PhD, Timothy E. Quill MD

From Inside the Book Cover

From inside the book cover: “In the 21st century, people in the developed world are living longer. They hope they will have a healthy longer life and then die relatively quickly and peacefully. But frequently that does not happen. While people are living healthy a little longer, they tend to live sick for a lot longer. And at the end of being sick before dying, they and their families are frequently faced with daunting decisions about whether to continue life prolonging medical treatments or whether to find meaningful and forthright ways to die more easily and quickly.

In this context, some people are searching for more and better options to hasten death. They may be experiencing unacceptable suffering in the present or may feat it in the near future. But they do not know the full range of options legally available to them. Voluntarily stopping eating and drinking (VSED), though relatively unknown and poorly understood, is a widely available option for hastening death. VSED is legal permitted in places where medical assistance in dying (MAID) is not. And unlike u.S. jurisdictions where MAID is legally permitted, VSED is not limited to terminal illness or to those with current decision-making capacity.”