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Compassion in the News

Fall 2001

The Miami Herald published an extensive article on Oregon's assisted dying law and one patient's choice to hasten her death. "She was done with the struggle, she was done with the fight, she was done with the pain," said the daughter of a 68 year old woman whose five children attended her death. Another Oregon patient dying from AIDS said, "My body keeps breaking down, and at some point, it's just going to give out. I just want to make sure it gives out at a time and place of my choosing."

The Journal of The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, published "Removing Legal Obstacles to Effective Pain Management." Charles P. Sabotino analyzes the Bergman case as "a classic case of advocacy -- using the law to remedy egregious, harmful behavior." He cites Compassion's Pain Treatment Advocacy Project as "One noteworthy example of a legal advocacy initiative, ...which works with lawyers in all states to improve end-of-life care."

The Albuquerque Tribune's extensive article, "Pain Relief On Trial" follows the plight of Dr. Joan Lewis, facing the loss of her medical license for her practice of prescribing opiates for severe chronic pain. Compassion in Dying wrote an amicus brief in support of Dr. Lewis that was co-signed by Americans for Better Care of the Dying and The American Academy of Pain Management. Kathryn Tucker, Director of Legal Affairs is extensively quoted for her criticism of medical boards that fail to take pain treatment seriously, and her call to defend physicians who treat pain aggressively.

The Utah Standard contrasted the Bergman to the case of Dr. Robert Weitzel, who faces murder charges for vigorous pain treatment. Kathryn Tucker is quoted for her concern that "when physicians treating the pain of elderly terminally ill patients are punished, it increases the chill in this environment and causes others to be unwilling to prescribe adequately."

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This article was provided by Compassion in Dying. It is a part of the publication Compassion in Dying.
 

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