Lonny Shavelson, MD

Lonny Shavelson, M.D. founded Bay Area End of Life Options in 2016. He worked for 29 years as an emergency department physician, then 7 as a primary care physician in a clinic for immigrants and refugees, then 4 years specializing in medical aid in dying — before closing his practice in August of 2020.  Dr. Shavelson is now the Chair of the American Clinicians Academy on Medical Aid in Dying, and a consultant and educator for physicians working with aid-in-dying patients. Dr. Shavelson also leads trainings about California’s End of Life Option Act.

Dr. Shavelson has been deeply interested in issues about end-of-life care for patients for more than twenty years. He was one of five authors of the proposed “Physician-Hastened Death” guidelines by the Bay Area Network of Ethics Committees, published in 1997 in The Western Journal of Medicine.  He also was involved in the writing of amicus briefs for the Supreme Court when it considered the issue in 1996 (Quill vs. Vacco)

Shavelson is also an author and  journalist. His interest in physician aid-in-dying led to his book A Chosen Death (Simon & Schuster, 1995).  Twenty years later, California passed the End of Life Option Act, legalizing physician aid-in-dying in the state.

Chosen Death Cover

Review comments about A Chosen Death:

“Regardless of one’s opinion on assisted suicide, as a literary document, A Chosen Death is almost perfect. Shavelson writes with a combination of intelligence, simplicity and emotion …(a) compassionate, brilliant book.”
Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review, June 4, 1995

  “The personality and varied talents of the author ‑‑ as journalist, photographer, and physician ‑‑ are evident in this remarkable book, which presents moving and thought‑provoking accounts of assisted death… Shavelson’s book challenges the simplistic thinking characteristic of much of the debate on this subject.”
The New England Journal of Medicine, May 2, 1996

“…an engrossing and personal essay about the chronically or terminally ill person’s choice to die… A Chosen Death is highly recommended for those who contemplate these questions.”
Journal of the American Medical Association, January, 19, 1996

“The stories recounted by Shavelson…are told with compassion, drama and insight. I find myself thinking about (them) over and over again… Read Shavelson’s crucially important book…”
The Philadelphia Inquirer Book Review, Sunday, June 9, 1995, by Art Caplan, Director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania

A Chosen Death is unlike any other book on death, dying and assisted suicide. …superbly tackles this most difficult of ethical issues.”
San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Book Review, June 11, 1995

“…Shavelson does an excellent job of presenting the many faces of the issue. It’s all there ‑‑ the joy and the sorrow… Highly recommended for all collections.”
Library Journal, starred review, June 15, 1995

“Extraordinary portraits of five dying people who contemplate ending their own lives, sensitively and movingly written by a physician who has thought long and hard about the issue of assisted suicide”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review