California’s Aid-In-Dying Law Takes Effect

Emily Bazar spoke with KQED’s Michael Krasny on June 9, 2016. Can’t see the audio player? Click here to download.

California on Thursday became the fifth state to allow terminally ill patients to legally obtain drugs that will end their lives.

With the implementation of the End of Life Option Act, Californians with six months or less to live now can request a prescription for lethal medications from their doctors.

But obtaining a prescription won’t be easy or quick, and some people may not meet the law’s many requirements.

For instance, patients must make multiple requests for the drugs, orally and in writing, and attest in writing within 48 hours of taking the medication that they are doing so voluntarily. Two doctors must confirm a patient’s diagnosis, prognosis and capacity to make medical decisions for her or himself.

Plus, it might be hard to find a doctor who will write a prescription, since doctors are not required to participate. And patients might have trouble affording the medications if their insurance doesn’t cover them.

This week, California Healthline Columnist and Senior Correspondent Emily Bazar spoke with Valley Public Radio and KQED to explain the requirements of the law and the challenges patients might face in availing themselves of it.

For the KVPR Interview, click here. For the KQED Interview, click here.

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