Archive for End of Life Option Act

Start Talking Now (Please)

eoloa-mapCertain hospice-related subjects seem easy to write about. For me, California’s End of Life Option Act (EOLOA) isn’t one of those easy topics.

In June 2016, the EOLOA became law. I wrote about it then.

The EOLOA allows dying patients to take medication to end their life. Two doctors must examine that adult patient (18 years of age and older), with both agreeing she or he has an illness that will lead to death in six months or less. The EOLOA has extensive steps the patient is personally responsible for taking. Those steps include meeting with doctors, completing forms, and drinking the medicine. The process is intentionally complicated.

  1. Since that day in June, I think people are committing suicide.
  2. Since that day in June, I think doctors are murdering their patients.
  3. Since that day in June, I think there’s another option for a dignified death.

Which of the above statements would you make?

I suspect a majority of Californians—or anyone where a “right to die” law permits a medically assisted death—would need a fourth choice for a truthful answer:

  1. Since that day in June, like always, I just do my best to get through the week.

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Dying in California Has a New Option

A new path to consider...

A new path to consider…

California residents with a terminal illness have a new choice.

Starting on June 9, 2016 the End of Life Option Act (EOLOA)* offers a death with dignity.

No it doesn’t!

It’s suicide sugarcoated with clever phrases. Taking your life is immoral, unethical, and—especially for people of faith—a sin of immense proportions.

Without a doubt, the EOLOA will prompt varied reactions: embraced, vilified, or misunderstood. But it is the law.

Oregon became the first state to legally allow terminally ill patients to end their lives with doctor-prescribed medication in 1997. I lived in Oregon when Measure 16’s Death with Dignity Act appeared on the 1994 ballot. After considerable prayer and thought, I voted against the measure. It passed with 51% of the vote (and was later affirmed by 60% of the voters).

My “no” vote reflected reluctance about giving doctors so much control. Rationally, I understand. Doctors are trained to objectively examine patients. Yes, human mistakes happen, but a physician’s conclusion informed by tests, technology, and experiences are as good as we can get for a diagnosis. Nonetheless, another side of me didn’t want this decision to prioritize the medical. Death is a natural part of life. It is often better understood emotionally and spiritually.

With the EOLOA, patients are required only to inform physicians of their plans. No one else will know a patient’s intentions unless she or he chooses to share it. Read More →

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