Attitudes are changing about death with dignity, and so is the law. Stewart Florsheim has this Perspective.
A few years ago, a close friend had an advanced form of prostate cancer. A successful entrepreneur, he wanted nothing more than to live, but the disease was terminal, and he was in extreme pain.
He decided to take advantage of California’s End of Life Option Act. The act gives mentally competent, terminally‐ill patients with less than six months to live, the option to take aid‐in‐dying medication. One of his concerns was the requirement of a 15‐day waiting period between the first and second verbal requests. In the midst of his suffering, he had to anticipate how long he could hold out and also plan the time so his children could fly in to be at his bedside.
On October 5, Governor Newson signed SB 380 into law. The new bill extends the act for another 10 years, and it also makes several improvements.
The most significant change is the 15‐day waiting period has been reduced to 48 hours. Other improvements include:
• Healthcare systems will have to post their aid‐in‐dying policies on their websites.
• If a doctor will not support a patient’s wishes, the doctor will have to document the request and, if asked, transfer the patient’s records to another practitioner.