Elizabeth Edwards Taught Lesson About Decisions to End Treatment


"Doctors need to be educated that we have many other treatments besides chemotherapy," said Morrison. "Accompanying patients through a difficult illness, not abandoning them, and being there to listen to them is as important, if not more so, than prescribing one particular medication."

Research has shown that end-of-life care can actually help prolong life.

"It is an unfortunate myth that keeps being perpetuated that opting for palliative care shortens life," said Morrison. "When patients are comfortable, when the stress of pain is relieved, when their depression is treated, and their loved ones are supported, they actually live longer."

Final Days Full of Comfort and Love

In her remaining days, Edwards likely benefitted from the outpouring of support from the public as well as from having her loved ones around her.

"The dying process is different for every patient, but no one should have to die alone," said Ellis.

Ellis also said Edwards' family and friends probably took tremendous comfort in being with her at the end of her life.

"There is such a thing as a peaceful death, and the patient can reach closure with her loved ones."

ABC News' Emily Friedman, Jessica Hopper, Leezel Tanglao and Claire Shipman contributed to this report.

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