The California End-of-Life Option Act

Among the rapidly evolving areas of health law are the legal, medical, and ethical issues relating to death and dying. California is now the fifth state to authorize medical aid-in-dying. This raises the thorny and inevitable question as to whether your institution, facility or agency will participate or not participate in the activities authorized under the End of Life Option Act [the “Act”] signed by Governor Jerry Brown, on October 5, 2015. (Cal. Health & Safety Code, § 443, et seq.) The Act permits a competent, qualified individual who is an adult with a terminal disease to receive a prescription for an aid-in-dying drug if certain conditions are met. These conditions include two oral requests, a minimum of 15 days apart, and a written request signed by two witnesses. These requests must be provided to his or her attending physician who then refers the patient to a consulting physician to confirm diagnosis and capacity to make medical decisions. The attending physicians refers the patient to mental health specialists, if indicated.

 

Source for News notes: The California End-of-Life Option Act: To Participate or Not to Participate by Larry T. Pleiss, Shareholder at Wroten & Associates.