Beverly Bergman: "So That No One Should Have to Suffer ..."
As her dying father suffered in excruciating pain, Beverly Bergman felt helpless. Her father's pain was never properly managed, despite her pleas for stronger medication. The hospital staff ignored her requests for morphine, the drug that had eased her mother's last days when she too died of lung cancer.
Outraged after their father's death, and plagued with memories of his pain, the Bergman family sought help. Beverly contacted friend who eventually led her to Compassion in Dying. Compassion investigated the record, consulted medical experts and drafted a letter to the Medical Board of California. When the board took no action the family agreed that filling a lawsuit was the best chance to benefit other patients. Beverly, her brother Robert and sister Alice acted "so that no one should have to suffer the way [their] father did."
Beverly's commitment in memory of her father became a three-year act of love and advocacy. She drew on her training as a drug abuse counselor and mental health advocate for the skills to represent those who cannot speak for themselves.
Since the verdict, Beverly has talked with others who saw a parent die under similar circumstances. Her experience comforts and empowers them. She has appeared on radio and TV and testified before legislative committees. Her three-year campaign exemplifies the power of one person to effect social change.
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This article was provided by Compassion in Dying. It is a part of the publication Compassion in Dying.