Compassion & Choices

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Compassion & Choices
TypeLegal and legislative advocacy, counseling
HeadquartersPortland, Oregon
Official language
English, Spanish
Key people
Kim Callinan, MPP, PMP
$16 million

Compassion & Choices is a nonprofit organization in the United States working to improve patient rights and individual choice at the end of life, including access to medical aid in dying. Its primary function is advocating for and ensuring access to end-of-life options.[1][2]

With over 450,000 supporters in every state, it is the largest organization of its kind in the United States.

History and organization[edit]

Compassion & Choices is the successor to the Hemlock Society,[3] and Compassion In Dying Federation; the organizations merged in 2007. The organization has a staff of 80 people located across the country.

Compassion & Choices of Oregon[edit]

was a US nonprofit organization launched in 1998 as a provider of services for persons eligible for the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, and their physicians and pharmacists. The organization recruited and trained volunteers to provide legal and medical consultation and direct service at no cost. It was a state affiliate of Compassion & Choices, and provides education, information and support to approximately 1000 Oregonians each year.

The state affiliate ceased operations in 2015.

The 2011 Sundance Film Festival winner, How to Die in Oregon, documented the work of Compassion & Choices of Oregon.[4]

In early Spring 2012 the organization's medical director emeritus, Peter Goodwin, M.D.,[5] announced he was dying of a neurological disorder and would end his life with medication and protection of Oregon's Death with Dignity law. Goodwin died at home, surrounded by friends, on March 11.[6]

End-of-life consultation program[edit]

Compassion & Choices provides end-of-life consultation for dying patients and their families at no cost. Professional consultants and trained volunteers work by phone or in person to offer assistance in completing advance directives, make referrals to local services including hospice and illness-specific support groups, advice on adequate pain and symptom management, and information on safe, effective and legal methods for aid in dying.

The organization's work is highlighted in the documentary film How to Die in Oregon which won the 2011 Grand Jury Prize[7] at the Sundance Film Festival.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ziegler, Stephen J; Bosshard, Georg (10 February 2007). "Role of non-governmental organisations in physician assisted suicide". British Medical Journal. 334 (7588): 295–8. doi:10.1136/ PMC 1796670. PMID 17289733.
  2. ^ the organization has worked for recognition of a difference between the terms "assisted suicide" and "legal physician aid in dying" in the criminal code. For example, Oregon law draws a distinction between "suicide" and "aid in dying" for criminal purposes. ORS 127.880 §3.14 [1][2]"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2010-03-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "End of Life Planning and Paliative Care - Compassion & Choices". Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
  4. ^ Barnes, Brook (24 January 2011). "Unflinching End-of-Life Moments". New York Times. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
  5. ^ "He helped craft Death With Dignity Act". Los Angeles Times. 12 March 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  6. ^ "Peter Goodwin: The Dying Doctor's Last Interview [VIDEO]". 10 March 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  7. ^ James, Susan Donaldson (February 13, 2014). "Philly Nurse Exonerated in Assisted Death of Her Terminally Ill Father". ABC News. Retrieved May 12, 2016.


External links[edit]