Goodbye Peter Goodwin

Compassion & Choices of Oregon joins others all over the world today to grieve the death of Peter Goodwin, MD. He was a campaigner in the 1994 and 1997 ballot measures leading to Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act (ODWDA). On Sunday, March 11, Peter, who had a terminal illness, died after taking medication he obtained under the the Oregon law. He was surrounded by his four children and their spouses, and a Compassion & Choices of Oregon 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, Peter was diagnosed with a rare, fatal brain disease, corticobasal degeneration. His doctors recently gave him a six-month prognosis.

Peter was a chief petitioner for the ballot measure that led to the ODWDA. 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 was its first Medical Director.

Services for Peter will be Wednesday, March 14, at 5 p.m. at Cheatam Hall on the World Forestry Center Campus in Portland.

LISTEN – Assisted Dying Advocate Uses Law To End His Life, NPR
READ – Peter Goodwin, aid-in-dying advocate, ends life at 83, Washington Post
READ – Dr Peter Goodwin takes his own life after six-year battle with brain disease, Daily Telegraph (UK)
READ – Peter Goodwin’s life’s work, opinion editorial from The Oregonian
LISTEN – Remembering Peter Goodwin, OPB
READ – Peter Goodwin Is Dying: An Assisted Dying Doctor Invokes Law He Built, Daily Beast / Newsweek
READ – The Separation of Church and Medicine, Time
READ – ‘Death with Dignity’ doctor dies at 83, AP
READ – Dr. Peter Goodwin, Father of Oregon Law, Takes Own Life, ABC
READ – Peter Goodwin dies at 83, aided by Death With Dignity Act he championed, CBS
READ – Right-to-Die Advocate Ends His Life, Wall Street Journal
READ – Peter Goodwin Is No More, TopNews United Arab Emirates
READ – Peter Goodwin, doctor who pushed for Oregon’s Death with Dignity law, dies, Oregonian
READ – Dueling over death: Dr. Peter Goodwin crafted Oregon Death with Dignity Act; a 1997 interview, Oregonian
READ – Oregon physician behind Death With Dignity dies, USA Today
READ – Peter Arnold Goodwin, MD – obituary and memorial service announcement
READ – Oregon Doctor’s Death Highlights Right to Die with Dignity, commentary from Susan Graybeal, Yahoo News

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