We Mortals

By Barbara Coombs Lee

Sunday, October 05, 2008

At Last, A Victory for Decency

Heralding a rare and glorious victory of decency over dogma, Governor Schwarzenegger signed the California Right to Know End-of-Life Options Act (R2K) into law recently. When the law goes into effect in California January 2009, the impact will reverberate across the nation.

For all the fuss among right-to-lifers, you'd think R2K opens some radical new practice, or forces doctors to violate their patients' interests. Here's what it does:

When a dying patient asks, "What are my options?" the Act instructs the doctor to answer the question. Period.

Answering the question completely and honestly, the doctor must disclose all legal and feasible options, or refer the patient to someone who will.

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posted at 03:30:23 PM | permalink

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Driving the Dying to the Back Alley

Ask any woman. The back alley is an inherently unsafe and degrading place to go for medical treatment.

At one time the epicenter of the back alley for end-of-life choice was a Volkswagen bus in Michigan. Today's epicenter is a veterinary pharmacy in Tijuana, Mexico.

A recent New York Times article, ("In Tijuana, A Market for Death in a Bottle," July 21, 2008) explains it all and has quickly become one of the most visited and emailed pieces on the Times website. The zebra-striped burro featured in the accompanying photo gives the whole scene a surreal, Fellini-like tone.

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posted at 08:38:30 PM | permalink

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