Under the California law, the End of Life Option Act, which went into effect June of 2016, terminally ill patients have the right to request life-ending medications. They must do so in a specific way and endure a waiting period before they can receive the drugs. However, the way the law is set up, physicians and medical facilities do not have to participate. Individual doctors can refuse to offer the medications as an end of life option, while others are prohibited from doing so by their employer’s guidelines.
In addition to the option to not participate in physician-assisted suicide, doctors do not have to warn patients upfront that they do not provide this end of life option or help patients find a physician who will. As was the case with Judy Dale, who was denied life-ending medication. Dale’s family, who watched her suffer while trying to find another physician to help her, is now suing University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center for fraud and elder abuse.
The Dale Family’s Suit