Thursday, June 8, 2017

California's right to die law: early days

The Mercury News brings us up to date on California's right to die law
California’s right-to-die law: Patients struggling to find doctors who will help
"It’s been nearly a year since California began allowing terminally ill residents to end their lives with the help of a physician. And for Ray Perman, the right-to-die law worked exactly as lawmakers intended.

"On Feb. 4, as his family gathered around his bed, the 64-year-old Piedmont resident ingested a lethal dose of sedatives and passed away peacefully — in his own home, on his own terms — after years of battling cancer.
"But for many other Californians, the End of Life Option Act — which took effect June 9, 2016 — has led to a desperate race against time. Frustrated and unable to care for themselves, these terminal patients have frantically searched to find the required two physicians they must work with to terminate their lives.

"Add in the law’s mandated 15-day waiting period between the two oral requests they must make to the two doctors for the medication and it’s often too late to follow through with their plans.
“At this stage in the law, it’s a little bit of a hard road,’’ said Judith Geisser, a retired attorney who lives in Oakland.
"Geisser watched as her dying brother’s oncologists — one in Santa Rosa who had treated him for colorectal cancer, another in San Francisco who had diagnosed his subsequent brain cancer — politely declined to help him die, or even refer him to colleagues who would.
"Geisser offers this advice to anyone who wants to take advantage of the law: Start your search for the two physicians sooner rather than later.

“When you’re not healthy, and not at your best, that’s not the time to manage the path through this law,’’ said Geisser, who was forced to scramble to find a physician to help her 67-year-old brother Pat fulfill his last wish.
"Opponents of the law, including Californians Against Assisted Suicide, have watched its implementation with dread and cite a litany of concerns.

“It’s bad policy,’’ said the group’s spokesman, Tim Rosales.

"He said there are too many loopholes in the law, including the fact that the law doesn’t require those patients receiving lethal prescriptions to get any type of counseling beforehand from a mental health professional. In addition, he said, “there’s no requirement that somebody who stood to gain financially from that individual’s passing could not be involved in the process.’’
see my earlier post:

Friday, June 10, 2016

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