The state of California enacted, on June 9th, the End of Life Option Act. This Act allows physicians to prescribe lethal medication to those patients that suffer from malignant or terminal illnesses, such as cancer, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s or others. This took place amid debate about reflection on ethics in these situations.
The End of Life Option Act Already Used by 111 People
Since its enacting and the end of 2016, over 250 people applied for the “end-of-life option process”, according to the law. From 250, 191 people received prescriptions from 173 different physicians.
These are statistics put forth by the California Public HealthDepartment, which mirrors findings published by the Oregon Health Authority.
Health officials state that 111 people ingested the drugs, killing themselves. There were 21 people that died of natural causes before taking the medication. And, for the rest of 59 people, there is not clear evidence as of what had happened. They also received prescriptions.
On a granular level, there were Asian, African-American, Hispanic, and white people that took advantage of the End of Life Option Act. Approximately half of them were women. Those who ingested aid-in-dying drugs mostly had college education/ They were also receivers of one form or another of medical care.
Further, those who made use of the End of Life Option Act suffered from malignant cancer diseases, or neuromuscular disorders, heart or lung diseases, among other. The average age of using the End of Life Option Act was 73 years.
The moral and ethical dilemmas regarding the End of Life Option Act heated the debate when the Act was proposed and approved. There are strict regulations regarding the way in which the Act can be activated. Only individuals with fatal, deathly illnesses can make use of the Act.
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