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Dr. Peter Goodwin's Death with Dignity

Pioneer of Oregon Law Exercises Right He Fought For

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By: Compassion & Choices

PORTLAND, OR, March 12, 2012 - Compassion & Choices today grieved the death of Dr. Peter Goodwin. He was a campaigner in the 1994 and 1997 ballot measures leading to Oregon's Death with Dignity Act (DWDA). On Sunday, March 11, 2012, Dr. Goodwin, who was terminally ill, died after taking medication he obtained under the provisions of the Act. He was surrounded by his four children and their spouses, and a Compassion & Choices volunteer was with them as well. It took less than one-half hour after taking his medication for Peter to attain the peaceful death he sought.

"I was honored to call Peter Goodwin a compatriot and a friend," said Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion & Choices. "Our hearts are broken at this loss. The state of Oregon, medicine and the world have lost a great leader. Most of all, our sympathies are with his family, whom he dearly loved."

In 2006, Dr. Goodwin was diagnosed with a rare, fatal brain disease, corticobasal degeneration. His doctors recently gave him a six-month prognosis.

Dr. Goodwin, along with Coombs Lee and Eli Stutsman, was a chief petitioner for the ballot measure that led to the DWDA. Peter called his accomplishments as chair of the committee to pass the Oregon Death with Dignity Act in the mid 1990s "the most gratifying of my entire life." He was instrumental in persuading the Oregon Medical Association to remain neutral on the measure. After the law passed, Dr. Goodwin helped launch Compassion & Choices of Oregon and became its first Medical Director.

Dr. Goodwin recently discussed his work on the DWDA, and his approaching death. Video is available at CompassionAndChoices.org/Goodwin.

 

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