Compassion & Choices of Northern California educates terminally ill individuals and their families about their right to a dignified, humane and peaceful death.
We provide free services to our community with a focus on comfort care and pain management. We also educate the general public about the full range of end-of-life choices in our state.
Stay connected with Compassion & Choices Northern California by visiting our Facebook page and liking us. Recent posts include:
- A really cool interactive timeline of the aid-in-dying movement
- An important column from the L.A. Times’ Steve Lopez, calling for change around how we die.
- An interview with Dr. Judy Epstein, Clinical Director for Compassion & Choices.
If your end-of-life plans aren’t in place yet, download and complete the following Advance Directive:
Compassion & Choices has two groundbreaking lawsuits in California around improper end-of-life care.
- Hargett v. Vitas in Alameda County concerns Michelle Hargett-Beebee, a Los Gatos mother of three young children. Michelle died a painful death from pancreatic cancer in December 2009 while in the care of Vitas Hospice. Vitas failed to adequately manage her pain or to inform her about her pain relief options. This case is the first of its kind to test the California Right to Know End-of-Life Options Act, which requires physicians, upon a terminally ill patient’s request, to provide extensive information on end-of-life care.
- DeArmond v. Kaiser Permanente is about Emily DeArmond, a young woman who suffered from brain cancer most of her life. Despite a clear physician order, she was intubated and forced to undergo a procedure she did not want. Emily died soon after. This case is the first of its kind to examine whether providers can disregard a patient’s wishes when they are a part of a Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST).
End-of-Life Volunteer Spotlight: Jonathan Feinberg
Jonathan, a retired family physician, has always been devoted to the idea of patient autonomy and choice. When he learned about Compassion & Choices’ efforts to enact the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, he became engaged in this issue, donated to the cause and subsequently joined as an active member of Compassion & Choices. He hoped that similar legislation could be passed in California and testified before the California State Senate with Compassion & Choices in 2007 in support of the California Compassionate Choices Act. He was sorely disappointed that the bill failed to pass by one vote.
Until he took the training course to be an End-of-Life Consultation (EOLC) volunteer, his main interest was promoting social and political change by speaking informally to friends and colleagues. As a former delegate to the California Medical Association (CMA) he appeared before the San Mateo County CMA Chapter to urge them to take a neutral stance regarding the California Compassionate Choices Act in the future.
Now, as an EOLC volunteer, he has been very gratified to meet clients, listen to their feelings and needs, and guide them through possible options. “In addition to the privilege of serving our clients, being an EOLC volunteer has given me the opportunity to clarify my own end-of-life wishes.”
Want to become an EOLC volunteer? Contact 866.825.8967 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Northern California, contact Executive Director Paula Taubman at 866.825.8967 to learn more about what Compassion & Choices of Northern California is doing and how you can help.
For Southern California, contact Jennifer R. Levin, PhD at (626) 529-3522.