Monday, June 16, 2014

Casey Kasem Dies Age 82. End-of-life care discussion.

US radio personality Casey Kasem has died, age 82, of Lewy body dementia, which has symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease. His end of life care had made headlines recently. More on that below.

In a (perhaps) little known fact, Casey also lent his distinctive voice to the character Shaggy in the 'Scooby Doo' cartoons.

He was renowned for his unmistakable voice, heard on thousands of commercials and television announcements, as well as his syndicated radio show 'American Top 40', which debuted in 1970. At its peak, Casey's radio show was heard on more than 1000 stations in about 50 countries, including Australia. I vividly recall tuning in  on my little radio in suburban Sydney and discovering all the hottest songs first via this exciting US radio show. There was nothing else like it!

In 1989, Casey began 'Casey's Top 40' after a contract disagreement with his syndication company; a decade later, he returned to radio under the original show title. Ryan Seacrest took over the broadcast in 2004 and Casey retired in 2009.

In a statement posted online, his daughter, Kerri Kasem said: "Early this Father's Day morning, our dad Casey Kasem passed away surrounded by family and friends. Even though we know he is in a better place and no longer suffering, we are heartbroken."
A family legal battle over Casey's end-of-life treatment marked the end of his life.
Casey had three children with his first wife, Linda Myers, before divorcing in 1979.
His second wife was actress Jean Kasem, who he married in 1980. The couple had one child together.
Cssey had been the focus of a dispute between his three children from his first marriage and his second wife Jean.

The three children accused Jean of preventing them from visiting their father. Jean had been in control of Casey's medical care and controlled access to him. She had blocked Casey's kids from seeing him in recent months, according to court filings. In the final weeks of Casey's life, Kerri and Jean feuded over whether to keep feeding and hydrating a dying Casey. As his health deteriorated, a Los Angeles judge sided with Kerri and her siblings and permitted them to withhold food, hydration and his usual medication, siding with Kerri, who argued the nutrition was harmful to her father in his last moments.

“Giving food and water to a dying body creates pain and further suffering,” Kerri said at the time. “My father can no longer digest foods, and fluids fill his lungs up and will suffocate him.”

Casey's children chose end-of-life care at a Washington state hospital.

It poses the question: what would you do if faced with the same scenario for your loved one? Are you and your siblings/extended family on the same page? Have you and that conversation?

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