California has just reconsidered its position on the matter of the End-of-life Act , after many long years of opposition. The California Medical Association is the first organization of its kind in the US to ever change its position on this particular issue.
“The decision to participate in the End of Life Option Act is a very personal one between a doctor and their patient” said Dr. Luther Cobb, the president of the California Medical Association.
He further explained that this was the motivation that has lead them their decision to overturn the policy that has prevented doctors from intervening in their terminal patients’ end-of-life decision.
This matter was brought to theirs and the public’s attention last year when Brittany Maynard, a 29-year old woman with an aggressive brain tumor announced that she would be moving to Oregon, where she would be legally able to get the death she wanted.
She was an advocate of the “death with dignity” movement for the remainder of her life. She died peacefully in a hospital in Oregon in November 2014, in accordance with her wishes. Since then, her family has greatly supported her cause and has continually fought for the End-of-life Act.
Therefore, today’s event is a great victory to her family as well. Brittany’s husband thanked the California Medical Association for reconsidering their stand on the matter and said that this supports Brittany’s position on this issue.
The bill still has part of its journey to bare from here on, as it is still in the hands of the committee for the moment. However, it is Senator Lois Wolk’s hope that she will be able to get the bill to the Senate by the first week in June.
She is one of the co-authors of this bill and she greatly believes in the freedom it offers to terminally ill patients. Precisely how Dr. Cobb explained the matter, there are some situations when doctors cannot do more for their patients, despite their greatest efforts and the best that technology and research have to offer.
Furthermore, sometimes even the best hospice support programs cannot relieve certain patients of their enormous pain. It is then when a last dignifying act remains for his patient remains the only option that the doctor is left with.
While no doctor could ever be obligated to perform the medical acts involved in physician-assisted suicide, the fact that it is an option for the ill-fortunate terminal patients represents a great break-though in the world of medicine.
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