After votes in the House of Representatives and the Senate on 6 and 30 March, Governor of Hawaii David Ige signed a measure into law legalizing assisted suicide. “We know that we have gotten to a point in our community that it does make sense to give the patient a choice to request the medication, obtain it and take it, or ultimately change their mind”, he said.
Two health care providers must confirm the diagnosis and prognosis, in addition to the patient’s decision-making capacity. The patient must first make an oral request, wait at least twenty days, and then voice a second. He or she must then sign a written request before two witnesses, one of whom cannot be a parent. Criminal penalties will be imposed for “anyone who tampers with a request or coerces a prescription for life-ending medication”.
In addition to the potential risks of hasty decisions or incentives to choose euthanasia, critics fear “waning support for palliative care”, although it is already possible to sedate people who are dying to alleviate their suffering.
ABC News, Sophia Yan (05/04/2018)