Litigation: Filed October 24, 2016

Roger Kligler, a retired physician in Falmouth, Massachusetts, has lived with prostate cancer for two decades. As a doctor himself, Roger dealt firsthand with cancer his entire professional life. Although his current cancer treatments have been working, he knows exactly how devastating its various symptoms and treatments can be. Roger believes that he “should have the freedom to say how much suffering is too much” in his final days, so he decided to take action.

On October 24, 2016, Compassion & Choices filed Kligler, et al. v. Healey, et al. in Massachusetts state court on behalf of Dr. Kligler and Dr. Alan Steinbach — a physician who would be willing to write prescriptions for medical aid in dying but fears prosecution — seeking a judicial declaration that medical aid in dying is not criminal in Massachusetts because there is no criminal statute barring the practice.    

On December 31, 2019, the court dismissed the case but did rule in our favor in one of the six counts in the lawsuit: Physicians are free to advise terminally ill patients about this end-of-life care option to peacefully end unbearable suffering. Compassion & Choices appealed the court’s dismissal on all other counts in May of 2021 and is currently awaiting a decision.

Read more:

Dr. Roger Kligler smiles from his hospital bed

  • Roger Kligler’s op-ed “The Death I Want,” published in Boston Magazine 

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