Family files first-of-its kind lawsuit of California peaceful death bill

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The family of a terminally ill woman has filed a lawsuit against a medical center and physicians they said consciously ignored California's End of Life Option Act.

Relatives of Judy Dale, 77, said she repeatedly told her physicians that she intended to use the act's provisions to have a peaceful death, The Mercury News reported. Dale had advanced colorectal cancer, the newspaper noted.

The lawsuit was filed against UC San Francisco Medical Center, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCSF Health, a UCSF oncologist, and the UC Board of Regents. It states that although Dale received reassurances from her treatment team, she was discharged home last summer, which led to an “an urgent, panic-filled search for a physician who would be willing'' to help her obtain a prescription for a lethal medication, the newspaper reported. She died in pain due to being unable to obtain the medication, the family said.

The state legislation went into effect in June 2016. The lawsuit, which asks for unspecified damages and a jury trial, alleges elder abuse and neglect, negligent infliction of emotional distress and misrepresentation/fraud and negligence.

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