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death

Drew Hayes

Synthetic opioids are evolving so fast, even Michigan’s forensic scientists are caught in a game of cat and mouse: As soon as a new synthetic gets identified, another one pops up.

First it was fentanyl, which can be lethal even in very small doses – far smaller than a lethal dose of heroin. Then it was carfentanil, which made headlines for being even more powerful than fentanyl. And new variations on these synthetics keep turning up in crimes scenes and autopsies.

Wayne County Medical Examiner Carl Schmidt says at least with carfentanil, they knew what they were dealing with.

“But when you get these synthetic fentanyls, who come from who knows where, you don’t know what their potency is,” he says. “But so far they’ve proven to be more potent than just plain old fentanyl.”

Mark J. Hardy / Flickr, http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Donald Trump doesn’t often make me laugh, but he did a week ago, when he announced his grand plan to change the tax system. We should all support it, he said, because it would finally end “the crushing, the horrible, the unfair estate tax, or, as it is often referred to, the death tax.”

Trump went on to explain how farmers and people with small businesses have to hold a “fire sale” after the owners die to pay “the death tax, a disaster for this country.”

“There are so many obituaries that I read, ... and I think, I’ve been aware of this person but I didn’t know this person," Thomas Lynch told us.
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

 

How much do you care about the ultimate story of your life?

For many people, that final story is contained within their obituary.

Threshold Choir sings to people on their deathbed

Jul 25, 2016
Savor the sounds of a song bath
Kyle Norris/Michigan Radio

Here’s how the Threshold Choir works. Typically, Hospice or a family member call ups the choir when someone is sick or dying. A small group of singers arrive at the person’s bedside and sing very simple songs with lyrics like “You are not alone, I am here beside you.”

Choir members say it’s not a performance but rather a way to be present with someone who’s dying.

Their friends tease them that singing to people on their deathbed must be depressing. But the singers say it’s energizing and life-affirming. They say it’s the opposite of depressing.

flickr user Stephan Ridgway / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Let’s start with an undeniable fact: Someday, every single one of us is going to die.

Death is one thing that we all have in common, but most of us tend to have a really hard time talking about it.

According to Gail Rubin, less than a third of Americans plan for death and make their end-of-life wishes known.

CDC

It doesn't matter where you live in the United States; the leading cause of death is heart disease, followed closely by cancer.

But there are more than 113 causes of death listed in the The International Classification of Diseases, and any one of those can end up on someone's death certificate. 

That means there are a lot of state-by-state distinctions hidden in the bigger numbers.

Why we must grieve

Feb 12, 2015

All this week on Stateside, in our series Living with Death, we're talking to people about how the process of death and dying has changed. Today we talk about why we must grieve when someone we love has died.

Imagine if your friends referred to you as “the death lady.” That’s what Kim Parr’s friends like to call her and honestly, she has mixed feelings about the nickname.

Rebecca Kruth

All this week on Stateside, in our series Living with Death, we're talking to people about how the process of death and dying has changed. Today: what's it really like to be a small-town mortician?

When Stateside's Rebecca Kruth lost her father, her family turned to Larry Skinner, the Eaton Rapids funeral director who's been helping the community say its goodbyes for years. 

As part of our Living with Death series, Kruth talked to Skinner about what it's like planning funerals in a town where everyone knows everyone.

Kathlene Rodgers

 

All this week on Stateside, in our series Living with Death, we're talking to people about how the process of death and dying has changed.

Today we talk about what changes the mortuary science field has experienced.

We know it’s inevitable, but death is not something that all people come to embrace. For those working in the profession of mortuary sciences, it is a fact of daily life.

Sander J. Rabinowitz / Wikipedia

His former boss remarked that Bill Bonds could "read the telephone book and make you pay attention." The legendary Detroit TV anchor died over the weekend at age 82.

History Rewound / Flickr

We’re coming up on an anniversary this weekend. It’s probably not one you’ve noted before. On Dec. 14, 1799, the nation’s first president, George Washington, died at his home, Mount Vernon.

It was not an easy death, primarily because of the medical treatments he was given. Dr. Howard Markel is a physician and medical historian at the University of Michigan and he’s written an essay about that.

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.

Two days ago, my eyes fell on a poignantly written column by a gallant woman who I felt I knew, though we’ve never met.

Sherri Muzher lives in the downriver Detroit suburb of Woodhaven.

She has multiple sclerosis, as do perhaps 400,000 other Americans. She is intellectually vibrant and only 44, but her disease is advancing quickly, and she knows it.

There isn’t any hope that she’ll get better, and she bravely accepts that, but she wants to make a contribution to humanity.

robertafking.com

His name was Noah. He was born with cerebral palsy. When he was 17, he lost his battle against infections that had ravaged his lungs.

Noah's mother, Roberta King, is from West Michigan. She has shared the story of her son's life in her new memoir He Plays A Harp.

“It’s a joy to me to bring him to people that never knew him. And I think through that I feel a little less of the loss,” King said.

The story starts with the Noah’s conscious decision to die and then walks through his parent’s journey in dealing with the loss.

“A lot of parents experience the birth of their children. And, gratefully, not a lot experience their death,” King said. “I wanted people to know what that was like to walk your child from one place to another.”

*Listen to full show above.