Published: Sat, July 01, 2017
Medical | By Dorothy Lyons

Californians terminated lives under aid-in-dying law previous year

Californians terminated lives under aid-in-dying law previous year

More than 100 people have legally ended their lives since California enacted a right-to-die law past year, according to a new report.

According to data between June 9- December 31 of 2016, 191 people received aid-in-dying drugs under the act and 111 people died after taking the prescribed drugs. Among those patients, 111 took the drugs and died.

Compassion & Choices will continue to provide education to the public and medical professionals through its bilingual Access Campaign to ensure that every eligible terminally ill person has access to the End of Life Option Act.

"The state's data show that even during the early months of the law's implementation, the law was working well and terminally ill Californians were able to take comfort in knowing that they had this option to peacefully end intolerable suffering", Whitaker said. Results on the 59 others who received the drugs but did not die were not reported on in the six-month time frame, the report says.

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The similar law (Right-to-die Law) was approved by OR state government and many other states two decades ago that left majority of white, strongly educated cancer patients of age 60 dead. Most were receiving hospice, had health insurance and were college educated.

OR adopted the law in 1997. Among those with malignant cancer as the underlying terminal disease, which constituted the largest group of individuals asking for help, lung cancer accounted for 20 percent, while breast cancer made up 18.5 percent, pancreatic cancer comprised 12.3 percent, and 10.8 percent had prostate cancer. Doctor-assisted deaths are likewise legal in Colorado, Montana, Vermont, Washington state and Washington D.C. The patient must verbally ask for the lethal prescription to a doctor twice and with at least 15 days between each request.

She also explained her advocacy others facing a similar fate, noting while she and her husband were able to move to OR to obtain end-of-life medication, "the vast majority of families do not have the flexibility, resources and time to make all these changes".

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