Californian law operating well.

Californian law operating well.

According to according to a report just released by the Californian Department of Public Health, 111 people in California took their own lives using lethal prescriptions during the first six months of a law that allows terminally ill people to request life-ending drugs from their doctors.

A snapshot of the patients who took advantage of the law mirrors what has been seen in Oregon over nearly two decades of the law operating there. California is far more ethnically diverse than Oregon, yet the use of assistance to ie in California does not reflect the demographics of California’s population.  The majority of those who have died under aid-in-dying laws in both states were white, college-educated cancer patients older than 60. There was absolutely no evidence of vulnerable people being targeted to be assisted to die.

Some of the specific findings include:

  • Over half of the participants had cancer, with the most common type being lung cancer.
  • At least 84 percent were already enrolled in hospice or palliative care.
  • 87 percent were at least 60 years old (the media age was 73).
  • 89 percent were ‘white’ Californians.
  • 58 percent had attained an associate degree or higher level of education.

Click for End of Life Option Act Report June 2017 report by Californian Dept Public Health.

Click for article ‘California assisted suicide patients are mostly white, well-educated’ in the Sacramento Bee whch includes graphs on demographs of those who accessed assistance to die during the first six months of operation of the law.

Click for article in Los Angeles Times which includes a comparison between the operation of the laws in Californian and Oregon during 2016.

Click for article by CNN which includes a short video (4.57 mins) about aid-in-dying laws across the US, with focus on the views of US Supreme Court Judge Neil Gorsuch and personal story of terminally-ill soldier, Matt Fairchild, and the views of Brittany Maynard’s husband, Dan Diaz.

Click for Compassion & Choices’ blog (1 June 2017) “California medical aid-in-dying law working very well as first anniversary approaches”

Dr. Bob Uslander, who has his own palliative care practice in Del Mar, California, said “I actually find it to be one of the most gratifying things that I’ve ever done in medicine and in life — being able to give somebody that gift at the end of their journey and to help them find that ultimate peace and healing,….If I wasn’t doing it, these people would still be struggling or they would have died very difficult, challenging deaths. … These people are looking at more struggle, more suffering or having to basically be medicated to the point of unconsciousness,” Click for story and video (2.58 mins) about Dr Uslander’s experience of the first year of MAID in California.