So, Barbara instead opted for voluntarily stopping eating and drinking (VSED) also known as voluntary refusal of food and fluids (VRFF). Unfortunately, Barbara’s cessation of food and fluid was not complete, thus prolonging her death for 24 days. In contrast, most VSED deaths occur within 10 to 14 days after the patient stops intake of food and fluid.
Yes, some patients may prefer physician aid-in-dying (PAID). But VRFF-VSED is, as I have argued, a comfortable and respected option. Unfortunately, many advocates of PAID legalization denigrate the benefits and over-emphasize the risks of VSED-VRFF to accentuate the need for PAID. After all, the availability of VSED-VRFF lessens the need for PAID. The availability of multiple options weakens the case that any one option is needed.
To be sure, PAID has some advantages over VSED-VRFF, just as VSED-VRFF has some advantages over PAID. This is preference sensitive medicine. Proponents of PAID should not push for the availability of one "exit option" at the expense of another. Both options should be available.