Medicine

CDPH Releases Annual End of Life Option Act Report

CDPH Releases Annual End of Life Option Act Report”

The data was part of the first report by the California Department of Health since the End of Life Option Act became effective on June 9, 2016.

The law, first introduced in 2016, allows patients who are terminally ill to voluntarily take their lives.

The data, released Tuesday by the California Department of Public Health, looked at demographic information of qualified patients who obtained and used life-ending drugs.

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".

A little more than 75 percent of the patients were between 60 and 89 years old, with the median age being 73.

Matt Whitaker, a spokesperson for Compassion & Choices, a group that worked to pass the law, told the Times that the 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".

The state data shows that during the half-year from the day the law took effect on June 9, 2016 until December 31, 2016, 191 terminally ill Californians received prescriptions from 173 doctors for aid-in-dying medication; 111 of those individuals (58%) made a decision to self-ingest the medication.

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. Doctors still require some time to understand and implement this law. Most were receiving hospice, had health insurance and were college educated.

The life-ending drugs must be self-administered without the help of family members, friends or doctors. Of those 258 individuals, 173 physicians prescribed the legal aid-in-dying drugs to 191 people.



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