By Chris Haring
A Colorado man diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis explains his decision to choose medical aid in dying as a peaceful end-of-life option.
When in September 2021, at just 45 years old, Atif Ali was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease), doctors told him he had about a year left to live.
“I said, ‘What do you mean? There’s no way… I feel relatively healthy and strong,’” Ali said, recalling the moment he received the life-altering news.
In a recent interview with CBS News Colorado Investigative Reporter Brian Maass, Ali said he has become dependent on loved ones for care.
In April, approximately a year and a half after his official diagnosis, Ali signed up for the state’s medical aid-in-dying program as swallowing and breathing became more complicated. “I thought [aid in dying] was something I would want on hand,” he said, “to have the option of passing in a peaceful manner.”
Since Colorado became one of ten states (and Washington D.C.) to legalize physician-assisted dying, its use has steadily increased from 72 patients in 2017 to 316 in 2022.
Although the trajectory of his life has taken a dramatic turn – before his diagnosis, he thought he was at the “mid-point” of his life, he said – Ali said that the option of medical aid in dying provides him a degree of solace:
“In some sense, it gives me one last choice, where [terminal illness] seems to have not been my choice at all.”
If you are a patient hoping to learn more about Death with Dignity laws or have any questions we can assist you with, reach out to us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch Ali’s story:
Boulder man explains decision to seek medical aid in dying
By Brian Maass, CBS Colorado