Patients Have Died Under CA Right-to-Die Law

Posted July 01, 2017

The law allowing assisted suicide in the Golden State, called the End of Life Option Act, went into effect on June 9, 2016, ending years of passionate debate over whether government should allow the taking of one's own life with a physician's assistance.

Only 111 terminally ill patients took the life-ending drugs but, in fact, 191 prescriptions have been issued. While the report does say that 21 of those people died from other causes than suicide, it was not clear in the survey what had happened with the other 59 patients who had asked for, but not used, the drug.

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

A newly released report by the California Department of Health accounts for the terminally ill individuals who participated in the state's assisted suicide program between June 9 and December 31.

"The state's 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", he said in a statement.

According to a report released on Tuesday by the California Department of Health, 111 terminally ill residents chose to end their lives over the first six months since the bill was passed. In that timeframe, 191 people received life-ending drugs after being diagnosed with a terminal illness.

OR was the first state to adopt this kind of law in 1997.

Corinne Carey, the NY campaign director for the right to die advocacy group Compassion & Choices, said the data will help spearhead a similar effort in NY. Most were receiving hospice, had health insurance and were college educated. 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.

Writing the lethal prescriptions is completely voluntary for doctors and medical facilities, and some, including all Catholic and church-affiliated hospitals, have not allowed their physicians to prescribe such medicines.