“It is time for terminally ill, mentally competent Hawai‘i residents who are suffering to make their own end-of-life choices with dignity, grace and peace. I am honored to sign HB 2739 into law, in hopes of giving these patients and their families choices and peace of mind.“ -Governor Ige, Honolulu, Hawaii
Hawaii has just become the latest state to legalize medically assisted suicide. On Thursday, Governor Favid Ige signed the House bill 2739 “Our Care, Our Choice” into law. It allows doctors to “fufill requests from terminally ill patients to prescribe life-ending medication.”
WKRN via the Associated Press reports the law was written to ensure that patients are in full control of their end-of-life care. Governor Ige ensures safeguards are in place “to give the patient the choice [to]request the medication, obtain it and take it, or ultimately change their mind.” Some of the safeguards include:
- Two health care providers are required to confirm a patient’s diagnosis, prognosis, ability to make decisions and that the request is voluntary.
- A counselor also must determine that the patient isn’t suffering from conditions that may interfere with decision-making, such as a lack of treatment of depression.
- The patient must make two oral requests for the life-ending medication, with a 20-day waiting period in between, and sign a written request witnessed by two people, one of whom can’t be a relative.
Hawaii joins six other states that have passed similar medically assisted end-of-life laws including California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, Washington State and District of Columbia.
Isn’t this how it should be for those facing imminent death? Don’t they deserve the utmost respect and the right to make their own decisions in order to leave this life in peace, in dignity, with the least amount of pain—and without legal interference?
Thank you to Governor Ige, the state of Hawaii and to all those who support giving the terminally ill a choice. Our Care, Our Choice is due to take effect January 1, 2019.
As to using the term “assisted suicide,” there are ongoing debates and discussions. DeathWithDignity.com is not good with using the term. Here are some reasons why.
‘Assisted suicide’ is inappropriate when discussing the choice of a mentally competent, terminally ill patient to seek medications that he or she could consume to bring about a peaceful and dignified death.—American Public Health Association
Physician-assisted dying isn’t suicide legally, morally or ethically. Patients already are dying and therefore are not choosing death over life but one form of death over another. —Ed Gogol, Final Solutions
The article states, “People with a terminal illness do not want to die but are, by definition, dying. They are facing an imminent death and want the option to avoid unbearable suffering and loss of autonomy in their final days.”
I’m not committing suicide, and I don’t want to die. I’m not killing myself; bone cancer is taking care of that.—Jack Newbold
The folks at DeathWithDignity.comn also state that “in fact, terminally ill patients who legally access the Death with Dignity Act find the word ‘suicide’ offensive and inaccurate. Many have publicly expressed that the term is hurtful and derogatory to them and their loved ones.”