Feed on

Assemblymember Patty Berg’s Compassionate Choices Act, legislation that
would allow terminally ill adults to accept life-ending drugs from a
physician, won the support of California’s largest physicians organization
this week.

The California Association of Physician Groups, which represents thousands
of doctors in more than 150 organized medical organizations, is one of the
largest of its kind in the nation.

“(Our) members take seriously our principal duty to heal and comfort our
patients, as well as to prevent avoidable suffering,” California Association
of Physician Groups Medical Director Dr. Wells Shoemaker said. “When
physicians can no longer heal the disease or alleviate the symptoms,
terminally ill patients have a right to control the circumstances of their

“We welcome the fact that physicians and patients have a spectrum of views
about this delicate subject, but the insistence upon dignity, comfort and
privacy unites nearly every compassionate individual.”

The bill, AB 374, was introduced by Berg, Democratic Assemblymember Lloyd
Levine and Speaker Fabian N��ez and has 24 other co-authors.

It is modeled after Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act and would authorize
doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs to mentally competent adults
diagnosed with less than six months to live.

Patients would be required to consult two physicians, make requests both
orally and in writing, receive counseling about alternatives and wait
through a cooling-off period.

A similar bill introduced by Berg last year died in committee.

“Our opponents like to say that physicians don’t support this choice,” Berg
stated in the release. “This should put that argument to rest. Here is a
huge group of doctors, and they’re standing up in favor of patient choice.”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.