Californians Now Have the Right to Die. 111 Used It

A look at the first 6 months of the End of Life Option Act
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2017 7:15 AM CDT
Californians Now Have the Right to Die. 111 Used It
   (Getty Images/Kliim)

In the first six months that terminally ill Californians had the right to die, 191 lethal prescriptions were written—with as many as 80 of them going unused. The Los Angeles Times and AP share the stats on what has happened between June 9, 2016, when the End of Life Option Act gave patients with a life expectancy of fewer than 6 months the right to obtain a prescription for life-ending drugs, and the end of that year. The data comes from the California Department of Public Health's first report on the law. Six stand-out figures:

  • From June to December 2016, physician-assisted deaths accounted for 6 of every 10,000 deaths in California. In Oregon, one of the other states to allow the practice, the figure was 37 per 10,000 for the year.
  • 59% of the 111 people who ingested the drugs in California had cancer.
  • 90% were white.
  • 87% were at least 60 years of age, with a median age of 73.
  • 173 doctors wrote the 191 prescriptions.
  • Of those who did not use the prescriptions, 21 died before doing so. Doctors did not report the results of the remaining 59 prescriptions.
This woman threw a final party before ending her life in California. (More right to die stories.)

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