CA may require MDs to explain end-of-life options

Under a new measure approved this week by state legislators, physicians who diagnose a patient with a terminal illness would be required to tell them right away about their right to refuse or withdraw from life-sustaining treatment. The bill has proved controversial, with some opponents arguing that the requirement intrudes on the doctor-patient relationship at a very delicate moment. Sen. Sam Aanestad, an oral surgeon, noted that some options that doctors would have to explain wouldn't be needed right away, or possibly for years. He argues that the bill might even hasten the death of depressed patients, who might give up before all worthwhile treatment options are attempted. However, supporters like Sen. Sheila Kuehl contend that the bill is a modest attempt to make sure terminal patients' questions are answered and that they know all of their options. The bill, which was just passed by the Senate, will go back to the Assembly for approval of minor amendments, then will be sent to the governor.

To learn more about the bill:
- read this Los Angeles Times article

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