End-of-Life Choice, Death with Dignity, Palliative Care and Counseling

Death with Dignity

Death-with-dignity movement springs back to life in California

By Steve Lopez
Los Angeles Times
September 30, 2014

Seventeen years ago, Oregon became the first of five states to offer what became known as death with dignity. Now a renewed effort is underway to add California to the list.

Past attempts have failed here, but Compassion & Choices, the nonprofit organization involved in the Oregon aid-in-dying movement, has hired staff in California and has begun recruiting supporters in Santa Barbara and San Mateo counties.

The group has held community meetings, lobbied local public officials, and is hoping to find California prosecutors who will agree not to prosecute doctors who prescribe life-ending medication to terminally ill patients who request it and are able to self-administer it. A ballot measure is also a consideration.

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California Voters Express Strong Support for Death-With-Dignity Option

Nearly two-thirds would favor allowing terminally ill adults to request and receive a prescription to end their suffering. 

(Los Angeles, CA – Oct. 1, 2014) Nearly two-thirds of California voters would support a death-with-dignity measure that would give a mentally competent, terminally ill adult the right to request and receive a prescription for life-ending medication from a physician, a poll released today reveals. This medical practice is called aid in dying.

“We know that Californians overwhelmingly support death with dignity because we hear from them every day,” said Toni Broaddus, California Campaign Director for Compassion & Choices, the nation’s leading end-of-life choice advocacy organization. “Terminally ill Californians want and deserve access to medical assistance to make a peaceful, dignified death possible.”

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Institute of Medicine Report on Dying in U.S. Praised by End-of-Life Choice Organization

Group Agrees Healthcare System Must Be More Patient-Centered 

(Washington, D.C. – Sept. 17, 2014) Compassion & Choices praised a new report by the Institute of Medicine that was charged with examining the “mismatch between the services patients and families need and the services they can obtain.”  The study, Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life, was released today.

“We know this Dying in America report reflects grave problems because we receive thousands of calls each year from dying people and their families,” said Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee, an attorney who was an ER and ICU nurse for 25 years. “They turn to us because our healthcare system is not ‘patient-centered, family-oriented, and consistently accessible near the end of life,’ just as the Institute of Medicine acknowledges.”

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New York City/Nantucket Civic Leader Joins Nation’s Leading End-of-Life Choice Organization

Samantha Sandler Named to Board of Compassion & Choices

(New York/Nantucket – Aug. 26, 2014) Samantha B. Sandler, a civic leader and conservationist who lives in New York City and Nantucket, has joined the board of directors of the nation’s leading end-of-life choice organization, Compassion & Choices.

Sandler is a member of the New York City Center Education Committee, advisor and former board member of the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, and has taught English as a second language at the Nantucket Atheneum. In addition, she has decades of experience as an active volunteer for numerous nonprofits focusing on community development, education and social welfare.

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Britain Shows United States How to Discuss End-of-Life Issues

By Sean Crowley

“If we truly love our neighbors as ourselves, how can we deny them the death we would wish for ourselves?”

Those are the words of Lord Carey, the retired Archbishop of Canterbury, in the lead up to last month’s record setting 10-hour debate by 127 members of Britain’s House of Lords over an aid-in-dying bill modeled after Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act.

Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee coauthored the Oregon law and testified about its long track record of success since its implementation in 1997 before the All Party Parliamentary Group on Choice at the End of Life in October 2011. More