losangelesnewstoday.com
losangelesnewstoday.com September 19, 2017


More than 100 people exercise California's new right to die

01 July 2017, 12:14 | Violet Powell

California State Data on End of Life Option Act Confirms It is Working Well

Debbie Ziegler mother of Brittany Maynard speaks to the media after the passage of legislation which would allow terminally ill patients to legally end their lives at the state Capitol in Sacramento Calif. C

The state's End of Life Option Act - which went into effect on June 9, 2016 - permits patients whose doctors say they have less than six months to live to request life-ending drugs from their doctors, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Among the 111 who took the life-ending prescriptions, 59 percent had received a cancer diagnosis and 46 percent were male. According to the report, between June 9 and December 31, 2016, 191 people who had six months or fewer to live, received life-ending prescriptions.

Twenty-one more patients died before they could take the drugs.

State Director of Compassion & Choices Matt Whitaker stated: "We continue to work to ensure that every terminally ill Californian has equal access to all end-of-life care options, including hospice, pain control, palliative care and medical aid in dying".

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An additional 21 individuals died before taking the drugs. It also showed about 80 percent of private insurance companies have covered the cost of medication, including Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter, many local health plans and all Medi-Cal plans.

Satistics on those taking their lives appeared in some respects to mirror those in OR, which was the first state to legalize the practice nearly 20 years ago, according to the Los Angeles Times. One of the terminally ill patients who took the pills was Tom House.

In that time period, a total of 258 people began the end-of-life process under the law, which requires patients to make two verbal requests to their doctors at least 15 days apart.

The law gained support and momentum after California national Brittany Maynard left the state of California to move to Oregon, where she could legally acquire a life-ending prescription under the Oregon Death With Dignity Act. Alexandra Snyder, an attorney with Life Legal Defense Foundation, said the data did not show whether the patients were suffering from depression or coerced into taking the drugs by doctors. Each year, on or before July 1, the Department of Public Health must provide prescribed information on those who sought and used aid-in-dying drugs.



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