Betsy is in her 80’s. She advises to Stanford medical school on advance directives, and she helps many people prepare directives. She also teaches and advocates all over the bay area on this topic. She was generous enough to give me over 2 hours of her time on Monday, and will be a key resource for us as we develop the advance directives area of our site. She understands many aspects of the law surrounding patients rights specific to advance directives, and is a strong advocate of having an advance directive, and having a dignified death. She also helped explain the differences between advance directive and a POLST form.
Generally speaking, she is very supportive of having better online resources, and was familiar with many of the resources currently available to start the conversation, and to document your wishes. This is her passion in life, and anything that can help more people understand and take control of how they die is valuable in her opinion. She just returned from a conference in San Diego of the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California. She said people at this conference were ‘clamoring’ for something like what we’re working on, and pointed me towards some important thinkers in this area to get input from as well. This will not be our last conversation with Betsy – she was very interested in helping us understand this problem better, and influence how it gets implemented. There’s a 2005 piece on SFGate.com where she and her husband Alan are interviewed about their advocacy work.