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Ahn v. Hestrin

A California Superior Court accepted a friend-of-the court brief filed by Compassion & Choices urging the court to reject a request for a preliminary injunction to suspend the state’s new medical aid-in-dying law.

The End of Life Option Act gives terminally ill adults the option to request a doctor’s prescription for medication they can decide to take to die peacefully and quickly in their sleep if their end-of-life suffering becomes unbearable. The law took effect June 9.

The preliminary injunction request follows the court’s rejection of a request for a temporary restraining order in a lawsuit to overturn the law by the Life Legal Defense Foundation, American Academy of Medical Ethics and several physicians.

“In the absence of medical aid in dying allowed by the End of Life Option Act, patients and families will be forced to live through painful and prolonged deaths,” states the brief filed by John Kappos, a Newport Beach partner in the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, and Compassion & Choices National Director of Legal Advocacy Kevin Díaz. “A preliminary injunction should be denied because the balance of harms weighs heavily in favor of terminally ill patients…and against Plaintiffs’ unsubstantiated and speculative allegations of harm. Their alleged harm is pure imagination.”

Plaintiffs admit—as they must—that the Act was designed with ample procedures that protect patients from exactly those harms that Plaintiffs are concerned with,” the brief concludes. “Plaintiffs provide absolutely no evidence showing physicians would abandon their medical ethics and professional standards because the Act provides them with some kind of immunity. Plaintiffs have failed to support their application with any credible evidence that they—or anyone—will be harmed if the Act goes into effect.”

The case is still continuing. The Court denied the plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction, but that did not stop the case from proceeding. There is another hearing set for March 10th, 2017, but it is subject to change.

Click here to read Compassion & Choices’ friend of the court brief.