Remembering Dr. Glenn Gordon, Medical Aid-in-Dying Advocate and Friend of Compassion & Choices

By Alyson Lynch, Communications Coordinator, Compassion & Choices
February 21, 2018

Dr. Glenn Gordon, a tireless advocate for end-of-life options and longtime friend of C&C, passed away on February 11, 2018 in Eugene, Oregon. Glenn worked to protect and advance medical aid in dying since his state voted for the Death with Dignity Act for a second time in 1997. In an interview for a C&C newsletter Glenn said, “Being a surgeon and unfortunately having lots of patients that had terminal diseases — lung cancer, cancer of the abdomen — it became apparent to me that patients at the end of life should have the option to not have to suffer.”

Gordon was a retired surgeon, former advisory board member of Compassion & Choices of Oregon and an alternate delegate for the Oregon Medical Association. Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee said of Gordon, “He was both wise and compassionate. You get to know a person pretty well sitting vigil, waiting for the last breath of a friend and co-campaigner. Glenn and I were with Penny Schlueter when she took her meds, and many hours later, when she died in 1999.” Penny worked closely with Gordon and Coombs Lee to help pass Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act.

In 2016, at 92, he testified at the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates in support of a resolution — advanced by his Oregon chapter — to study medical aid in dying as an option for terminally ill adults. Gordon told the AMA, “[the Death with Dignity Act] has encouraged earlier conversations about end-of-life care, as well as better and more frequent use of hospice and palliative care. Hospice care has improved markedly in the past couple of decades and works cooperatively when patients request the option of medical aid in dying.”

Dr. Rebecca Thoman, campaign manager for C&C initiative Doctors for Dignity, said “Dr. Gordon was instrumental in beginning the conversation about medical aid in dying within the American Medical Association. As a result of his advocacy, the AMA is now studying medical aid in dying as an end-of-life option. We all owe Dr. Gordon a debt of thanks. He is a true role model for us all.”

Compassion & Choices
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