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If You Qualify You Can Get An “Aid-In-Dying-Drug” in CA Now

Posted by terrepruitt on October 6, 2015

Yesterday, Monday, October 05, 2015, the Governor of California signed ABX2-15 the End of Life Option Act into law.  So California joins Oregon, Washington, and Vermont in having a law that makes taking your life under the letter of the law, not a crime.  It allows people who have been deemed mentally competent and terminally ill to get a prescription of an “Aid-in-dying drug”.  The law will expire in 10 years.  I am sure that ten years from now things will have changed and there will need to be revisions if not an entirely different law.  But for now we have the End of Life Option Act.

“This bill, until January 1, 2026, would enact the End of Life Option Act authorizing an adult who meets certain qualifications, and who has been determined by his or her attending physician to be suffering from a terminal disease, as defined, to make a request for a drug prescribed pursuant to these provisions for the purpose of ending his or her life. The bill would establish the procedures for making these requests. The bill would also establish specified forms to request an aid-in-dying drug, under specified circumstances, an interpreter declaration to be signed subject to penalty of perjury, thereby creating a crime and imposing a state-mandated local program, and a final attestation for an aid-in-dying drug. This bill would require specified information to be documented in the individual’s medical record, including, among other things, all oral and written requests for an aid-in-dying drug.”

An adult can qualify if “all of the following conditions are satisfied:

(1) The individual’s attending physician has diagnosed the individual with a terminal disease.
(2) The individual has voluntarily expressed the wish to receive a prescription for an aid-in-dying drug.
(3) The individual is a resident of California and is able to establish residency through any of the following means:
(A) Possession of a California driver license or other identification issued by the State of California.
(B) Registration to vote in California.
(C) Evidence that the person owns or leases property in California.
(D) Filing of a California tax return for the most recent tax year.
(4) The individual documents his or her request pursuant to the requirements set forth in Section 443.3.
(5) The individual has the physical and mental ability to self-administer the aid-in-dying drug.
(b) A person shall not be considered a “qualified individual” under the provisions of this part solely because of age or disability.
(c) A request for a prescription for an aid-in-dying drug under this part shall be made solely and directly by the individual diagnosed with the terminal disease and shall not be made on behalf of the patient, including, but not limited to, through a power of attorney, an advance health care directive, a conservator, health care agent, surrogate, or any other legally recognized health care decisionmaker.”

And “An individual seeking to obtain a prescription for an aid-in-dying drug pursuant to this part shall submit two oral requests, a minimum of 15 days apart, and a written request to his or her attending physician. The attending physician shall directly, and not through a designee, receive all three requests required pursuant to this section.”  And there is a list that the request must meet, including having two witnesses.

There is a list of things the doctors must do and are not allowed to do.  There are stipulations regarding insurance and insurance companies.  The act states that anyone involved will not be committing a crime (as long as they follow all the rules), but that the person must be administer the prescription themselves.

This still would have not helped my mom after being admitted to the hospital because the two requests that are required must be at least 15 days apart.  She probably couldn’t have swallowed pills.  Perhaps she could have crushed them  and put the in her feeding tube . . . if she had it . . . I don’t remember.  But, again, it is the timing, the 30 days.  But, I am sure this will help a lot of people die with dignity and not have to suffer through some of the medical procedures that sometimes take place at the end of someone’s life.

There is a website that has information on all states and the laws.  There might be more than one, but Death with Dignity is the one I am familiar with.  http://www.deathwithdignity.org/advocates/national

The information I have in this post was copied from the California Legislative Information website. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520162AB15

What do you think?  Are you a proponent?  Are you an opponent?  Do you have an opinion on it?

4 Responses to “If You Qualify You Can Get An “Aid-In-Dying-Drug” in CA Now”

  1. chegreene said

    I am happy people will have a choice now. I wish it was legal in all states . I mom crossed over a year ago from Glioblastoma. By the time she was diagnosed , she didn’t have a chance. The tumor was huge. I am thankful it was quick for her. It was a very difficult time for us all. I know that when she was diagnosed, she still had her mind, she would have taken this option if it was granted her. She wouldn’t have wanted to suffer having a brain that wasn’t working. She wouldn’t have wanted to be in a brain injury facility waiting to die.

    Like

    • Thank you for sharing. I am still wanting an even quicker way than this, although this is a step in the right direction.

      Part of this law is that a statistical report will be posted to the State Department of Public Health website, with information such as:

      “(1) The number of people for whom an aid-in-dying prescription was written.
      (2) The number of known individuals who died each year for whom aid-in-dying prescriptions were written, and the cause of death of those individuals.
      (3) For the period commencing January 1, 2016, to and including the previous year, cumulatively, the total number of aid-in-dying prescriptions written, the number of people who died due to use of aid-in-dying drugs, and the number of those people who died who were enrolled in hospice or other palliative care programs at the time of death.
      (4) The number of known deaths in California from using aid-in-dying drugs per 10,000 deaths in California.
      (5) The number of physicians who wrote prescriptions for aid-in-dying drugs.
      (6) Of people who died due to using an aid-in-dying drug, demographic percentages organized by the following characteristics:
      (A) Age at death.
      (B) Education level.
      (C) Race.
      (D) Sex.
      (E) Type of insurance, including whether or not they had insurance.
      (F) Underlying illness.”

      Which I don’t understand (E) because I thought, by law, everyone has to have insurance . . . buy anyway . . . this information will be interesting to see.

      Again, thank you for sharing. And I am sorry for your loss. It is not easy when a beloved parent dies.

      Like

  2. Yes, I am a proponent; in fact, we have it written into our wills that if either (or both) of us are at the point of being kept alive by machines or that we have no choice other than going into a nursing home, one of those states is where we will go. Thanks for posting this. So important to have the choice.

    Like

    • Perhaps more states (yours) will adopt similar laws and so you wouldn’t have to move.

      I do believe it is important for a person to have a choice and be able to make it without the threat of criminal charges.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Like

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