A lawsuit was filed by a cancer patient and five doctors on Wednesday seeking exemption of physicians who can help the terminally ill patients to end their lives from a ban in California on assisted suicide.
The lawsuit, which was filed in San Francisco Superior Court, the physicians who are meant to provide such assistance to the patients are actually not helping them to commit suicide. The lawsuit claimed that these physicians are instead offering the patients with the option of giving about a peaceful death.
The plaintiffs cited the Brittany Maynard case of a young California woman having brain cancer who moved to Oregon to seek legal end of her life with the doctors’ assistance.
Notably, the family of Maynard is not involved in the legal case.
“This case is about letting the patient, the individual, script the last bit of their journey through life,” said Kathryn Tucker, an attorney who represented the plaintiffs, at a press conference who announced the lawsuit.
On the other hand, the opponents said that prescription of life-ending medication violates a doctor’s oath to not harm their patients. According to them, such incidences may also pressurize sick patients to end their lives on the pretext of treatment costs or elder abuse.
Marilyn Golden, senior policy analyst with the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, said, “Where assisted suicide is legal, some people’s lives will be ended without their consent through mistakes and abuse. No safeguards have ever been enacted or even proposed that can prevent this outcome, which can never be undone.”
Golden cited that the patients who suffered already have an option to receive sedation in order to ease their pain. In the case, two of the physician plaintiffs also suffered cancer.
Currently, California law makes it a criminal act to assist someone in commiting suicide.