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After 50 years of trying, New South Wales today passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act permitting doctors to help seriously ill people to die.

Now all Australian states have similar laws, although the two ‘territorities’  (Northern Territory and ACT) cannot do so under the constitution — which may be changed in the near future.

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If you wish to know which USA states have lawful medical aid in dying (MAiD}, and their different requirements, Death with Dignity National Center’s State Statute Navigator is the place to go.

It is a a complete, searchable database of currently 
enacted Death with Dignity laws

https://deathwithdignity.org/resources/state-statute-nav=
igator/

 

 

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Governor Phil Scott has signed S.74 into law, amending Vermont’s medical-aid-in-dying statute. Advocates for the changes said this would make the medical-aid-in-dying process more accessible for terminally ill Vermonters. 

Vermont’s medical-aid-in-dying law has been in effect since 2013. It set up a multi-step process to request a life-ending prescription for any patient with a prognosis of six months or less to live.

Under the original law, the patient had to make two in-person requests to a prescribing physician, visit another consulting physician in person and submit a written request. 

After all these steps were completed, the patient had to wait an additional 48 hours to obtain a prescription. 

With S.74, patients will now be able to request the prescription using telemedicine. S.74 also got rid of the final 48-hour waiting period. 

It also adds explicit legal immunity for all licensed health care workers involved in the process, including the pharmacist who fills the prescription. 

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U.K. lacks aid in dying laws -more suicides

People with severe and potentially terminal health conditions are more than twice as likely to take their own lives than the general population, new data from the British Office for National Statistics (ONS) published today ( 20 April 2022) has indicated.

The ONS examined suicide rates among people with a range of health conditions with poor prognoses and found that those with low survival cancers are at 2.4 times higher risk of suicide than those without, those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) also at 2.4 times higher risk and those with chronic ischemic heart conditions are at nearly 2 times higher risk.

The data comes after several suicides and suicide pacts involving terminally ill Brits have come to light, with Dignity in Dying (London) research estimating that up to 650 terminally ill people are taking their own lives every year in the UK in lieu of the safe, legal choice of assisted dying.

Books on this subject at

https://www.finalexit.org

 

 

 

 

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The Oregon Death with Dignity Act (DWDA),  passed by referendum in 1998, allows terminally ill Oregonians who meet specific qualifications to end their lives through voluntary self-administration of a lethal dose of medications prescribed by a physician for that purpose.

 In 2021, 383 people were reported to have received prescriptions
under the DWDA. As of January 21, 2022, 238 people had died in 2021 from ingesting the prescribed medications, including 20 who had received prescriptions in previous years. Demographic characteristics of DWDA patients were similar to those of previous years: most patients were aged 65 years or older (81%) and white (95%).

The most common diagnosis was cancer (61%), followed by neurological disease (15%) and heart disease (12%).

From 2022 the residency requirement was scrapped.

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Sisters Lila Ammouri and Susan Frazier decided to end their lives at a Swiss assisted dying clinic after becoming “tired of life”, according to an advocate who was advising them.

Dr Ammouri, a palliative care doctor aged 54, and Ms Frazier, 49, had been suffering from medical “frustrations” such as chronic insomnia, vertigo and back pain, Exit International director Philip Nitschke told The Independent.

The sisters had intended to travel from their home in Arizona to Switzerland in early 2021, but the trip was delayed due to the Covid pandemic, he said.

They first contacted Exit, a non-profit assisted dying support group, in September 2020 to say they were exploring options to die by suicide.

“The explanation was that they weren’t 100 per cent well. They were complaining about what you might call frustrations. Collapsed dics, chronic back pain, chronic insomnia, vertigo,” Dr Nitshke told The Independent.

“They had both decided they were tired of life and it was time to go.

“What was very clear was that dying together was non-negotiable, it was very important to them.”

The sisters also revealed to Dr Nitshcke they had endured a “troubled” period in their lives.

“They didn’t give us much detail, but they said they had helped each other through what had been a difficult time and saw themselves as being each other’s best friend.”

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   Oregon will no longer require people to be residents of the state to use its law allowing terminally ill people to receive lethal medication, after a lawsuit challenged the requirement as unconstitutional.

In a settlement filed in U.S. District Court in Portland on 03/28/22, the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Medical Board agreed to stop enforcing the residency requirement and to ask the Legislature to remove it from the law.

Advocates said they would use the settlement to press the eight other states and Washington, D.C., with medically assisted suicide laws to drop their residency requirements as well.

“This requirement was both discriminatory and profoundly unfair to dying patients at the most critical time of their life,” said Kevin Diaz, an attorney with Compassion & Choices, the national advocacy group that sued over Oregon’s requirement.

Some 2,159 people have died after ingesting terminal drugs under the law since it took effect in 1997, according to data published last month by the Oregon Health Authority.

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Sisters Lila Ammouri 54, and Susan Frazier 49, from Arizona, US travelled to Basel Switzerland and died at the Pegasos clinic in Liestal on February 11, 2022.

The sisters were members of Exit International, having joined the organization in October 2020. They subsequently joined Pegasos in March 2021.

They sought information from Exit on ending their lives. Although they had a number of health problems, they were not terminally ill. They expressed a strong wish to die together.

They initially researched in detail possible DIY options described in the Exit Peaceful Pill Handbook. Fear of possible failure led them to then consider travelling to Switzerland. Pegasos was chosen because neither was terminally ill, and they felt Pegasos would be better able to serve their needs.

They also realised that their desire to die together, when not terminally ill, could not be accommodated by any of the right to die legislative changes introduced into a number of US states.

Both sisters were medically reviewed in Switzerland and their mental capacity to make such a decision assessed by independent professionals.

(The sisters – a palliative care doctor and a nurse practitioner from Arizona – had told friends they were taking a short vacation in Europe.)

Pegasos Director  Reudi Habegger stated

Pegaso’s Swiss Association is committed to ensuring that adults capable of judgement can exercise their right to a self-determined, humane death.  After careful clarifications and within the framework of the official rules, we respectfully accompany people with unbearable suffering on their last journey. Please understand that we cannot comment on individual cases for data protection reasons. 

What we can say, however, is that for each individual assisted suicide by Pegasos Swiss Association, a careful and preliminary clarification is required. Of course, we work closely with medical professionals and local authorities.

A majority of our supporters attach great importance to involving family members and selected friends in the preliminary clarifications and bringing them along on the day of VAD (Voluntary Assisted Dying). We strongly support this approach and actively recommend this and encourage the persons concerned. In the end, however, how they proceed corresponds to their own free will.

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Low cost, quality reading

Two books from Derek Humphry have now become available cheaply on KINDLE

My memoir  ‘Good Life, Good Death’  can be read on KINDLE for $$1.99.   (It was $33.00)

https://www.amazon.com/Good-Life-Death-Memoir-Pioneer-ebook/dp/B01N2HPTMJ

Also, my 1948 memoir ‘Jean’s Way’ is on Kindle for $6.

People tell me that both books are  quick and easy reads.

  • Derek Humphry                                    March 2022

 

 

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If interested in the debate over whether medical assisted dying should be extended beyond the only terminal adult, this long article in the Colorado Sun of 14 March is well worth reading:

Denver doctor helped patients with severe anorexia obtain aid-in-dying medication, spurring national ethics debate

A recent case study shocked psychiatrists across the country and added fuel to a long debate about whether right-to-die laws would lead to state-sanctioned deaths of people with mental illness and disabilities

Go to:

https://coloradosun.com/2022/03/14/denver-doctor-gaudiani-aid-in-dying-aneroexia-patients/?fbclid=IwAR385b-zRzwVqCWUDEraZjc35gkFoGJu_crQoo9swnEUuGa9per3eD7tprA

 

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