On Friday, three San Francisco doctors brought a request for a preliminary injunction to allow them to flout state law and help their terminally ill patients commit suicide.
The doctors joined four of their patients in February to file suit against the California attorney general’s office to force the state to allow physician-assisted suicide, three weeks after legislators offered an “aid-in-dying” bill, SB 128.
Section 401 of California’s penal code criminalizes physician-assisted suicide.
But the doctors aver that the laborious path of the lawsuit means that their terminally patients will suffer needlessly before they die. Nico van Aelstyn, representing the plaintiffs, told Bay Area public radio station KQED, “Doctors are not providing aid-in-dying because they’re afraid to; they’re afraid of being prosecuted.”
One of the plaintiffs, Angie Bloomquist, died in early August from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, (ALS), and wanted to take the fatal medication given by her doctor, Robert Brody, months ago.
Van Aelstyn said, “This is truly an instance where justice delayed was justice denied. While we acted as fast as we could, it was not fast enough to provide relief for Angie. Should the next patient of Dr. Brody’s suffer the way Angie did?”
But the state attorney general’s office bluntly state that the three doctors should not be allowed to ignore or change state law by themselves, that the issue should be decided by legislators or voters.
In July, San Diego Superior Court Judge Gregory Pollack ruled against three plaintiffs requesting the right to take lethal medication. The plaintiffs filed an appeal.