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Calif. Measure Aims to Give Terminally Ill Patients End-of-Life Options

A bill in the California Assembly would require doctors to give terminally ill patients information about end-of-life options. Supporters say people who are facing death need to be fully informed. KPB

A bill in the California Assembly would require doctors to give terminally ill patients information about end-of-life options. Supporters say people who are facing death need to be fully informed. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.

The measure aims to ensure dying Californians get full disclosure of all legal options for end-of-life care. These include hospice, refusal of life-sustaining treatments, and terminal sedation. Critics say it's just a back door way of getting doctor-assisted suicide.

Steven Jamison is with the advocacy group Compassion & Choices. He says it's about letting people know they don't have to die in pain.

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Jamison: People need to know these options so that they're not gonna have the fear that this is the only thing that's going to be left for them in the end. And that way they can choose hospice early, they can get the best care.

Jamison says two-thirds of terminally ill Californians spend less than a month in hospice, even though they're eligible for much longer stays.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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