California Right to Die Law Allows 111 Deaths in 6 Months

by Jared Lewis July 1, 2017, 0:13
California Right to Die Law Allows 111 Deaths in 6 Months

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

The department obtained its data from doctors, who were required to submit forms between June 9 and December 31 of 2016.

Dan Diaz, the husband of right to die advocate Brittany Maynard, called the data "a testament" to his late wife's "voice and advocacy that those 111 individuals had the ability to stay at home, under the care of their own medical team, and be surrounded by friends and family when they died".

Six months after California passed its "right to die" law, state authorities reported that 111 terminally ill patients chose to end their lives by taking medications. 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.

Of the 111 people who chose to use the law, 75.6 percent were between 60 and 89 years old, according to the CDPH, and 58.6 percent of those who took advantage of the law were diagnosed with terminal cancer.

A lot of them were white, college educated, had health insurance provided by either private or state carriers, and were receiving hospice or palliative care.

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.

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. Doctor-assisted deaths are likewise legal in Colorado, Montana, Vermont, Washington state and Washington D.C.

Matt Whitaker, the state director of the group Compassion & Choices, said the statistics show California's new law is working as it should.

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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