Health

Terminally Ill Patients End Their Lives Under Calif. Right-To-Die Law

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End-of-life prescription drugs taken by 111 Californians last year

While 111 of the 191 patients chose to take the pills by the end of the reporting period in December, another 21 individuals actually died before taking the drugs.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the law past year that allows doctors to prescribe the lethal dose of drugs to their terminally ill patients who request the drugs.

Apparently some of the people who requested prescriptions for lethal drugs had second thoughts. Additionally, the report includes demographic information on these individuals, including age and underlying illness.

Of the 111 people who chose to use the law, 75.6 percent were between 60 and 89 years old, according to the CDPH, and 58.6 percent of those who took advantage of the law were diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Data in the report comes from EOLA-mandated physician reporting forms and California death certificates. The data was part of the California Department of Public Health's first report on the law since it went into effect June 9, 2016.

59% of the 111 people who ingested the drugs in California had cancer.

Oregon, which has one-tenth the population of California, was the first state to adopt such a law in 1997.

"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.

It reported 204 people received life-ending prescriptions previous year.

While California is significantly more diverse than OR, the California Dept. of Health report almost mirrors what has been occurring in Oregon. The data showed that it was significantly less used in the first six months in California, with drug-assisted deaths accounting for just six out of every 10,000 deaths in the state. Most were older than 65 and had cancer.

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