Last year, the State of California enacted a controversial new law that allows doctors to prescribe medicine to terminally ill patients that will let patients decide when to end their lives. The state has recently issued its first report on how the law is being used.
Elder law advocates have been paying a lot of attention to California's new law allowing terminally ill people to seek physician assisted suicide. The law was extremely controversial and remains so.
If it is deemed successful, then its advocates think the law can be used as a model for other states to follow. Those who are opposed to the law, are watching it closely to see if there are any problems with it that they can use to bolster their arguments.
The State of California recently issued a report about usage of the law in the first six months after it was enacted, The New York Times reports in "State: 111 Terminally Ill End Lives Under New California Law."
Life ending drugs were prescribed to 191 terminally ill patients. A total of 21 of them passed away before taking the drugs, and 111 used them to end their lives.
The fates of the remainder were not known at the time that the report was issued.
The typical patient was a terminally ill elderly person diagnosed with cancer who was receiving hospice or palliative care. In total, 173 different doctors prescribed the drug to patients.
One thing the data shows, is that the median age of the patients was 73 and the majority were over 60.
Reference: New York Times (June 27, 2017) "State: 111 Terminally Ill End Lives Under New California Law."