111 terminally ill end lives under new California law

California State Data on End of Life Option Act Confirms It is Working Well

A profile of the suicides found that the majority were white males over the age of 60. Of those 258 individuals, 173 physicians prescribed the legal aid-in-dying drugs to 191 people. It reported 204 people received life-ending prescriptions last year, and of those, 133 people died from ingesting the drugs, including 19 recipients from prior years.

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State officials warn that people should be cautious in drawing hasty conclusions from this report, as it only covers six months of data.

California is 1 of 6 states where medical aid in dying is authorized - Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington - along with the District of Columbia that represent 18 percent of the nation's population.

The California Department of Public Health today released its first report detailing usage information during the first half-year of the End of Life Option Act's implementation.

Governor Jerry Brown signed the California law in October 2015, after 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, who was dying from brain cancer, received national attention for moving from California to OR in 2014 so she could end her life.

While California is significantly more diverse than OR, the California Dept. of Health report almost mirrors what has been occurring in Oregon. Most of the patients were older than 65 and also been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Critics say they are concerned that the option will lead to hasty decisions, misdiagnoses and waning support for palliative care, in which dying people can be sedated to relieve suffering. If the lethal drugs are prescribed, the person can still decide whether to take them, but they are required to administer them without assistance. You have encouraged us in our mission - to provide quality news and watchdog journalism.

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