For terminally ill patients, the barrier to assisted dying may be a status line

“Fifteen days is all when you are in pain,” said Kim Callinan, president and CEO of Compassion & Choices, which has supported the cha...


“Fifteen days is all when you are in pain,” said Kim Callinan, president and CEO of Compassion & Choices, which has supported the change. “Those eligible for the law face roadblocks and barriers. “

In 2016, for example, Youssef Cohen, a political scientist at New York University, took the extraordinary step of traveling across the country to use Oregon law as he died of mesothelioma at age 68. his life, ”said his wife, Lindsay Wright, who is associate dean at the university.

To establish their residence, the couple had to quickly sign an apartment lease, obtain ID from the National Motor Vehicle Agency, transfer medical records, and make an immediate appointment with a Portland doctor. to receive medical assistance in dying. Dr Cohen then had to deal with the 15-day waiting period.

“He didn’t succeed,” said Dr. Wright. “He died six days after our arrival. And he suffered.

A 2018 study of the Kaiser Permanente healthcare system in Southern California found that about a third of eligible patients died before they could complete the process.

New Mexico, which in June became the most recent state to be legalized physician-assisted dying has taken a much less restrictive approach than other states. The largely rural state is the first to allow not only doctors, but also advanced practice registered nurses and medical assistants to help determine eligibility and write prescriptions for deadly drugs. “In some communities, they are the only providers,” said Rep. Deborah Armstrong, Democrat and main sponsor of the bill.

While a doctor must also claim that a patient is terminally ill, patients in New Mexico can skip this step if they have already enrolled in a hospice, as most do. The patient only needs to make one written request, rather than two or more requests as required by other states. A 48 hour waiting period between when the prescription is written and when it is filled can be waived. “People come up and tell me how grateful they are to have this option if they need it,” Ms. Armstrong said.

California also simplified its 2016 law. In October, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law that, starting in January, reduces the 15-day wait between verbal requests to 48 hours and eliminates the requirement for a third written “attestation”.

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Newsrust - US Top News: For terminally ill patients, the barrier to assisted dying may be a status line
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