Judith is a nationally recognized expert on ethical issues relating to patient self-determination and informed end of life decision-making

Our Clinical Director

Judith Schwarz

Judith Schwarz, our Clinical Director, is a PhD prepared nurse, and one of the most experienced and highly respected end of life counselors in the country.

Having worked with us for the better part of 14 years, Judith has provided the bulk of our counseling services.

Judith Schwarz has been the Clinical Director of End of Life Choices New York and its predecessor organization Compassion & Choices of New York since 2002.  In that capacity she has counseled many hundreds of patients suffering from incurable and progressive or terminal illnesses and their families about end of life options and choices.

She earned a PhD in nursing at New York University where her research explored nurses’ experiences when asked by decisionally capable patients for assistance in dying. She completed a MSN at Lehman College, a certification program in bioethics and the medical humanities at Columbia University, and - many years ago, a nursing degree at a hospital program in Denver, Colorado.

Judith has taught ethics and health care law to nursing students, lectures frequently to professional nursing and palliative care audiences as well as to lay groups, and publishes regularly in professional journals. She has recently focused her writing and speaking on the option of voluntarily stopping eating and drinking as a means to achieve a peaceful, patient-controlled death, and has become concerned about the need to complete an advance directives by those newly diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

Publications by Judith Schwarz

  • “Hospice care for patients who choose to hasten death by voluntarily stopping eating and drinking”, J Hospice & Palliative Care Nursing. 16:126-131, 2014, Judith Schwarz
  • “Death by voluntarily dehydration: Suicide or the right to refuse a life-prolonging measure?” Widener Law Review 17:351-361, 2011, Judith Schwarz
  • “Stopping eating and drinking.” Amer J of Nursing. 109:53-62, 2011, Judith Schwarz
  • ‘I Can’t Help You with That’: When terminally ill patients wish to hasten their dying, nurses can, and should, help”, Amer J of Nursing.108:11, 2008, Judith Schwarz
  • “Exploring the option of voluntarily stopping food and fluid within the context of a suffering patient’s request for a hastened death”, Journal of Palliative Medicine,10;1288- 1297, 2007, Judith Schwarz
  • “Clinical application of the rule of double effect in palliative end of life care”, Amer Acad. Hospice and Palliative Medicine Bulletin; 7:1-3, 2006, Judith Schwarz
  • “Can we know what Terri Schiavo would have wanted?”, Palliative Supportive Care. 4:129-133, 2006, Judith Schwarz, co-authored with Nina Coyle