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City of West Hollywood Passes Death with Dignity Resolution

  • Published: 2014-11-21 : Author: City of West Hollywood : Contact:
  • Synopsis: West Hollywood city council voted unanimously on resolution urging Los Angeles county district attorney to de-prioritize death with dignity prosecutions.

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"During the height of the AIDS epidemic in West Hollywood we learned the painful lesson that sometimes death with dignity is far more humane and moral than an agonizing painful existence"

The West Hollywood City Council, at its regular meeting on Monday, November 17, 2014, unanimously approved a Resolution that urges the Los Angeles County District Attorney to de-prioritize prosecution of physicians and family members supporting death with dignity decisions of terminally ill, mentally competent individuals. This is the first Resolution of its kind to be passed in California. The decision comes just over two weeks after 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, a former California resident, chose to end her life with the support of her family and assistance of her physicians.

"During the height of the AIDS epidemic in West Hollywood we learned the painful lesson that sometimes death with dignity is far more humane and moral than an agonizing painful existence," said Council-member John J. Duran, in response to the passing of the Resolution. A significant number of West Hollywood's residents live with HIV or AIDS and the City of West Hollywood is recognized as a strong advocate for self-determination.

Currently five states - New Mexico, Vermont, Montana, Oregon and Washington - have passed Death with Dignity policies to expand end-of-life options for competent, terminally ill patients. Maynard moved to Oregon after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer early this year. In the months leading up to her death, she had become a prominent voice in the Death with Dignity debate and an outspoken advocate.

If the L.A. County District Attorney were to de-prioritize the prosecution of physicians and family members supporting Death with Dignity options, it would ensure terminally ill individuals the right to preserve their dignity and manage their medications as they see fit through end of life. The L.A. County District Attorney's recognition of the medical practice of aid in dying would also grant physicians medical legitimacy in honoring the wishes of their patients to have a dignified end of life.

The City of West Hollywood is like no other city in the world.

Located in the heart of metropolitan Los Angeles, the city was incorporated in 1984 by a unique collaboration of people including LGBT activists, former Soviet immigrants, and advocates for affordable housing.

At only 1.9 square miles, West Hollywood is a robust economic and cultural center instilled with idealism, creativity, and innovation. A spirit of community activism and civic pride thrives in West Hollywood for many of its approximately 35,000 residents. The city has a strong progressive political voice and is filled with rich history. Tourists from all over the globe visit West Hollywood for its iconic destinations such as The Sunset Strip and historic Route 66. The city's thriving creative and entertainment communities set trends in design, dining, music, fashion, art, and architecture.

For more information, please contact Ian Matthew Owens, Deputy to Council-member John J. Duran, at (323) 848-6460. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

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1 : Palliative Care Findings on Caregiver Depression, LGBT Partners, Moral Distress : Loyola University Health System.
2 : Defining the Changing Nature of Wisdom at the End of Life : University of California - San Diego.
3 : Blood Pressure Begins to Decline 14-18 Yrs Before Death : University of Connecticut.
4 : How Do Doctors Make Decisions When Managing Care for Critically & Terminally Ill Patients? : The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice.
5 : Is Quebec Dr. Assisted End of Life Law Too Restrictive? : University of Montreal.
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