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Florissant mother keeps the toughest promise

Nonfiction review: Teenager made her mom “pinky~swear” to end life support if there was no hope for recovery. Then she suffered brain damage in an auto accident.


Teenager Amy Oberreither of Florissant saw her beloved grandmother buckle under Parkinson’s disease. Amy told her mother, Persis Oberreither, that she could never live like her grandmother.

Amy made her mother promise — “pinky-swear” — that should something crash into her own life, her mother would tell the doctors to pull the plug…Read More

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Fall 2008 issue of the National Newsletter of the Bereaved Parents of the USA, written by David Hurley, National Board Treasurer, Bereaved Parents of the USA.

PINKY~SWEAR by Persis Oberreither bares the pain the parents of Amy faced in reaching the decision to disconnect the machines that were substituting for life in their only child. Even at the tender age of eighteen, Amy and her mother had already had conversations regarding end of life issues. Amy witnessed the helplessness of others and not only had a living will, but had entered into an agreement with her mother through the custom of locking pinkies and swearing to each other that they would do their best to fulfill each other’s wishes. …Read More

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Reviewed by Ann Mandelstamm

PINKY~SWEAR: Honoring My Daughter’s Right to Die by Persis Oberreither

Those of us who espouse death with dignity usually concern ourselves with older adults who have no hope of recovery: those with terminal cancer, ALS, Alzheimer’s or other diseases for which no cure is known. We tend to forget that young people also face these terrible and tragic conditions. In her book PINKY~SWEAR, Persis Oberreither has written beautifully and poignantly of 18 year old Amy’s automobile accident on the night of September 24, 2001. This book explores the heartbreaking medical and ethical challenges faced by Amy, her doctor, and her parents during the three weeks which followed the accident. …Read More

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Interview with Blaine Palmer
Staff member
Compassion and Choices
Portland, Oregon

We recently spoke with Persis Oberreither, a Compassion and Choices member who has written of the important conversations about end-of-life choice she had with her daughter, Amy.

“I was sitting at the dining room table and I was looking over my living will, as it was called at the time. Amy asked what it was for, and I explained to her that having a living will allows you to keep control over your health care decisions if you ever can’t speak for yourself. …Read More

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