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Compassion in Dying

Created in 2005 by the unification of Compassion In Dying and End-of Life Choices, Compassion & Choices supports, educates and advocates for choice and care at the end of life.

As the oldest and largest choice-in-dying organization in the country, Compassion & Choices has more than 25 years of experience in advocacy and service. We work for improved care and expanded options at the end of life, with effective care for every dying person. We support comprehensive pain control and palliative care, and legal assisted dying if suffering is unbearable.

Much of the work we do is accomplished through the grassroots efforts of our members and volunteers who generously give their time to support and strengthen their own communities. Compassion & Choices is proud to have 95 local groups across the country.

To find a local group in your community, click here.

Decisions about the end of your life should rest in your hands. We are here to make sure you have the final choice.

Support

Our Client Support Program serves individuals, families and others who may be facing the end of life or planning ahead. These services include:

  • Support and counsel to anyone who contacts us
  • Local referrals to pain specialists, hospice programs, social service agencies, disease-specific support groups and others
  • Assistance in completing living will/advance directive and in talking to families, friends and health care providers about health care wishes
  • Advocacy for people in nursing homes or who are receiving inadequate care

Educate

Knowledge is power. To advocate for our own end-of-life care, we need to know our rights and make plans. Compassion & Choices offers resources including books, pamphlets, videos and access to a speakers bureau.

We also provide information, counsel and support to individuals facing the end of life. We talk with patients and their families about pain and symptom management, hospice care, and suggest ways they can address concerns with their doctor. For those who are terminally ill, we may discuss safe, effective methods for hastening death as an option of last resort.

Physicians provide a crucial link in our commitment to compassionate patient care. Our professional education programs offer a venue for doctors to discuss how they can help their terminally ill patients achieve a peaceful death.

Advocate

Death doesn't have to mean suffering. In the event of a terminal illness, we each should have the right to choose the time and manner of our death when the course is prolonged or agonized.

Compassion & Choices pursues legal and legislative reform at local, state, and federal levels to ensure a patient's right to a peaceful death, including implementation and enforcement of advance directives, pain and symptom management, and legalization of assisted dying.

How to Reach Compassion & Choices

PO Box 101810
Denver, CO 80250-1810

tel: 800-247-7421
fax: 303-639-1224
E-mail: info@compassionandchoices.org
Web: www.compassionandchoices.org

Latest by Compassion in Dying

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Where to File Complaints for Under-Treatment of Pain

Depending upon where the incidents occurred and who was responsible, complaints can be filed to any of the following. There is no time limit on these complaints -- however, the sooner after the incident, the more effective the complaint. Your first a...

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Personal Stories

On My Mind: Pro-Choice and Pro-God

One way opponents try to discredit our movement is to assert that it contradicts spirituality or a belief in God. When asked why the law first changed in Oregon they often answer that fewer people in Oregon attend church than in any other state. Citi...

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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 h...

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Doctor Found Reckless for Not Relieving Pain

On June 13, Compassion achieved a great victory. A California jury returned a $1.5 million dollar verdict for the undertreatment of pain at end of life. The case sets a precedent, citing that failure to treat the pain of an elderly patient can consti...

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Personal Stories

Disabled Rights Activist Advocates for Aid-in-Dying

This is an excerpt of a speech delivered at the three campuses of the University of Alaska.

I am a severely disabled man. At the age of 19, I contracted polio, which left me paralyzed from the chest down. I have used a wheelchair ever since. As a fo...

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Personal Stories

Jake's Story

"Please help me! My husband is in terrible pain and he's going to shoot himself!"

The call came one morning in February from Susan in Montana. I asked if there were guns in the house.

"Yes, several, and I don't know if I can stop him!"

Her voice f...

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Death & Mourning

Oregon's Assisted-Dying Law: Seldom Used -- No Complications

Oregon's assisted dying law finished its third year of helping countless Oregonians receive better end-of-life care and die better deaths. And it once again proved its critics wrong on every count.

There is no rush to use the law -- only 27 terminal...

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Death & Mourning

Alaska Constitutional Challenge Moves to Supreme Court

Compassion in Dying Federation continues to press a claim under the Alaska State constitution on behalf of a class of terminally ill individuals, represented by two named plaintiffs, Kevin Sampson and Jane Doe.

The lawsuit challenges the Alaska Stat...

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Senate Bill to Nullify Death With Dignity Act Also Threatens Pain Care Nationwide

The U.S. Senate is preparing to join the U.S. House in overriding Oregon's Death With Dignity Act, authorized twice by statewide votes of the people of Oregon. In the process, Congress seems willing to condemn thousands of terminally ill Americans to...

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Compassion Leads Effort to Notify Patients of Pain Treatments

Pressing for a new role for the federal Patient Self Determination Act, (PSDA) Compassion in Dying Federation wrote to a federal regulatory agency on December 16, 1998 and asked its assistance to improve the pain treatment patients receive. The lette...