Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Doctor calls for more transparency on assisted suicide law

As California’s assisted suicide transition to the End of Life Choices Act is proposed to state legislators, one physician is calling for more transparency.

“I don’t think physicians should intentionally try to end lives,” Dr. James Grisolia, a neurologist in San Diego, told The Epoch Times. “It’s our job to keep people comfortable and give them a sense of empowerment.”

In 2016, the End of Life Options Act (EOLA) legislation, also known as AB 15, took effect. The bill, led by Sen. Susan Talmantes Eggman (D-Stockton), entitles critically ill patients to assisted suicide. While it was originally due for sunset on January 1, 2026, SB 380 will extend the act indefinitely.

The current act requires eligible patients to wait 15 days to receive the lethal drug, but SB 380 will reduce the waiting period to 48 hours.

Under the exit law, people diagnosed with an incurable illness must obtain medical confirmation that the death will occur within six months to qualify for assisted suicide.

“It’s always going to be a kind of estimation on the part of the physician about how much time someone has,” Grisolia said. “Furthermore, we don’t really have any sort of independent medical record or anything to verify that physicians are actually using it as intended by law.”

According to documentation provided by the California Department of Public Health, for a patient to be eligible for the ACT, physicians must determine whether the person has a terminal illness, is a California resident, is acting voluntarily. , and can make their own medical decisions.

The mental health of the patient also plays a role in the decision-making process of the physician.

Grisolia expressed concern over the lack of verification when a physician checks all the boxes to determine a patient’s eligibility, including the potential to falsify claims.

He highlighted situations where family members pressure others to consider assisted suicide or situations where people felt they were a burden to those around them.

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“Instead of using people as a reason to get checked out, it would be nice to support that person with their life, their home, and their family so that they don’t have to use these means to end their lives.” ,” said Grisolia. “We’re all worried about being a burden to other people, but there are better ways to reduce it than just checking.”

When it comes to conditions within EOLA, Grisolia said he wants more information, including more detailed information on whether the lethal procedure is safe, and whether people are being forced to make choices.

With factors unknown regarding the drug, Grisolia said it’s too soon to move forward with additional changes to the act.

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“A lot of problems or unsafe things happen, and people need to know that before they make long-term decisions,” he said.

If patients make the self-decision to end their own lives, organizations such as the Hemlock Society, End of Life’s Choice, and Death with Dignity help provide people with the resources they need to do so. .

Since the law took effect in 2016, nearly 2,000 critically ill individuals have received a prescription for the assisted-killing drug to survive six months or less. Data collected by the California Department of Public Health Till December 31, 2019.

The Compassion and Choice Action Network, a non-profit that helps people on their “end of life journey,” commended the SB380’s efforts to reduce waiting periods for critically ill people. is for.

“California’s legislature has taken a bold and compassionate step toward bringing peace of mind to many critically ill Californians and their families,” said Samantha Tread, California’s senior campaign director for the Compassion and Choice Action Network. “We look forward to working with the Assembly to pass this important bill and take it to the government. [Gavin] Newsom’s desk. “

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Doctor calls for more transparency on assisted suicide law
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