Bay Area Doctor Opens Euthanasia Business

Diabetes insulin injection (Reed Saxon / Associated Press)
Reed Saxon / Associated Press

A Bay Area medical practitioner is opening up his own euthanasia practice, taking advantage of this Thursday’s implementation of California’s new physician-assisted suicide law.

Dr. Lonny Shavelson worked as an emergency room physician for 29 years, and previously wrote a book on five people who were considering assisted suicide, according to the East Bay Times. He was also primary care physician for immigrants and refugees for seven years, and left medicine for two years while working on a “gender fluidity” documentary.

Shayelson is now seizing on the new law, known as the End of Life Option Act, and opening “Bay Area End of Life Options” to provide life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients. The doctor told the Times that his book focused on the claim that there is high demand for assisted suicide, and that it is already happening illegally.

Medicare already pays for “end-of-life-care discussion” according to the Times. It covers “about $83 for the first half-hour and $75 for the second half-hour.” The report stated that Shavelson will charge $200 for an initial evaluation, and $1,800 “to cover the cost of more detailed evaluations and visits, and forms related to the law.”

California will become the most recent state to institute physician-assisted suicide. The law made its way through the California legislature with help from the story of a young woman, Brittany Maynard, who had moved to Oregon to make use of that state’s physician-assisted suicide law to terminate her life.

Five states currently have “death with dignity” options, according to the Death with Dignity National Center and the Death with Dignity Political Fund, two pro-assisted suicide groups.

The California Medical Association had initially opposed the bill, but after the terminology “physician-assisted suicide” was removed, the organization shifted to not opposing the bill.

Bill analysis for SB 128 out of the Assembly Health Committee read, in part, “AIDS Project, Los Angeles and Equality California support this bill stating that this issue is particularly important because of its impact on the LGBT community, and noting that the roots of the death with dignity movement owes much to mothers of men dying painfully during the early days of the AIDS epidemic.”

State Assembly Member Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) decried the “political gimmicks” used to resurrect the bill in a special session after it was initially stopped. The bill was renamed and moved to a different committee in a special “healthcare” session. The maneuvering facilitated the bill’s passage through the legislature and across the governor’s desk.

California Gov. Jerry Brown initially said he was hesitant about signing the bill, resurrected as ABX2-15, but ended up signing, arguing that being able to kill himself, if faced with death, would be a comfort.

Several groups worked hard to prevent passage of the bill. Californians Against Assisted Suicide specifically stated that Brown benefits from “access to the world’s best medical care and doctors” that not all Californians have.


Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 


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