Most Read
Image 01 Image 02 Image 03

First “Right to Die” Clinic Opens in California

First “Right to Die” Clinic Opens in California

For $2,000, terminally ill Californians can exercise “end of life” option.

California is now beginning to implement its new right-to-die law, so terminally ill patients with six months or less to live can ask their doctor for life-ending medication.

The law requires terminally ill patients to submit three requests to their doctor for life-ending drugs. Two of them are verbal requests and must be at least 15 days apart.

Patients must submit the third request in writing. Doctors and pharmacists can refuse to issue lethal medications without any fear of consequences. Patients can also opt out at any time.

California will become the fifth state to allow medical aid in dying, and it’s estimated that some 1,500 lethal prescriptions will be written in the state each year.

When Californians passed a medical marijuana measure, marijuana dispensaries began opening. In the wake of the new physician assisted suicide law, the first “right to die” clinic has been created.

The proprietor of that new facility, Dr. Lonny Shavelson, reviews the services legally available under the state’s End of Life Options Act.

…[H]his new business, Bay Area End of Life Options, will particularly help those who cannot find a doctor to participate in the law.

…Shavelson plans to consult with patients who are either requesting or considering ending their lives, as well as with physicians participating in the law. Medicare will now pay for patients’ end-of-life-care discussions with a physician or other licensed caregiver — about $83 for the first half-hour and $75 for the second half-hour. But the federal program will not pay for physician aid-in-dying costs.

So the Berkeley doctor is charging $200 for an initial patient evaluation. If the patient does not qualify, or needs better end of life care, or to talk more with their doctors, the process will stop there. For those who do qualify and want to continue on, there is another $1,800 fee to cover the cost of more detailed evaluations and visits, and forms related to the law. A few medical professionals contacted by this newspaper said the combined amount did not seem exorbitant given the number of times the patient might be meeting with the doctor.

In fact, there may be many physicians who are not up for ending the lives of their patients.

Medical director Thomas Strouse, with UCLA’s Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital, is part of a team that included ethicists and chaplains. Within the system were many challenges, including pushback from some doctors.

“They say I went to the medical school to cure, and I would not want to participate in writing a lethal prescription,” he said.

Doctors are not required to participate and some religious-based healthcare systems can and have opted out.

However, for now, that is at least one new business for the state which has shuttered the doors of many over recent years.

DONATE

Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.

Comments

“Doctors and pharmacists can refuse to issue lethal medications without any fear of consequences.”

If one has a “right” to die then why are they allowed to refuse? Why are they afforded different privileges than others, a baker for instance?

Doctors have suffered a progressive conflict of interest since rejection of The Hippocratic Oath in order to normalize elective abortion.

Xenomethean | June 12, 2016 at 1:54 pm

Do babies in womb have a right to live?

Pre-cradle to Pre-grave nihilism. How morbidly quaint!

And how magnanimous liberals are with your life!

filiusdextris | June 12, 2016 at 3:14 pm

And I used to think Solyent Green was a dystopian movie.

G. de La Hoya | June 12, 2016 at 3:45 pm

Ironic that some drug companies will sell their product for this and not executions of criminals.

DieJustAsHappy | June 12, 2016 at 4:18 pm

If it comes to it, I hope that effective pain management will be used for me. I hope that those around me will not treat me as though I was already dead, but living. If unconscious, I hope they will, nevertheless, take a moment to speak a word or even a word of prayer. Holding my hand would be nice, as well.

As for ushering things along, not for me. “I’ll get there just as soon and die just as happy.”

Is this for anyone depressed about living in Kalifornia?

CloseTheFed | June 13, 2016 at 9:20 am

Unfortunately, the whole dying process hasn’t been dealt with realistically or honestly.

In his 90s, my Dad was unable to feed himself. His memory was very poor, he’d forget the food was there. The nursing home wouldn’t spend the time, and we kids made a mistake in choosing a home that was central to all of us, but not close enough to any one of us to go every day. He was losing weight. Then he got pneumonia when food got in his lungs…

Long story too short: After ups and downs, he died after having no food and water for 5 days. My sister and I were with him for the last two weeks, 24 hours a day. We took shifts.

There was no physician to consult in hospice. No doctor to explain anything. They gave us a pamphlet. The pamphlet sugarcoated everything. He had high fevers repeatedly. At one point they didn’t want to give him tylenol because “he’s dying – it’s part of dying.” He didn’t want to be touched. He was in pain.

I researched taking him to Washington or Oregon so they could give him a lethal injection. But you have to be a resident of those states and you have to be competent to give consent.

I didn’t know then, but I suspected, the morphine was making it impossible for him to eat. If a doctor had been there to inform me and advise me, it would have been so much better. I thought it was just pain relief, but it wasn’t.

Never again. My sister is making arrangement for my Mom to live with her. Never again.

CloseTheFed | June 13, 2016 at 9:24 am

And there was one man, in a room near my Dad’s who was screaming, yelling…. I had my hands full with my Dad. I don’t know if he had any relatives there to help or not. It was frightening.

buckeyeminuteman | June 13, 2016 at 1:47 pm

A business or doctor’s right to opt out, just like abortion-causing drugs, will end in 3, 2, 1…Expect this to go to the Supreme Court just like the Hobby Lobby case.

Font Resize
Contrast Mode
Send this to a friend