This week, the California Public Health Department published its annual end-of-life report. “Assisted suicide” for terminally ill adults has been legally authorised since 9 June 2016 but the department must provide an annual report on the number of prescriptions for lethal products and the number of people who have died in this way (see California’s turn to legalise medically assisted dying). Thus, according to this initial report covering the period from 9 June to 31 December 2016, 191 individuals were given a prescription for lethal products, 111 died after ingesting these products and 21 died before taking them. Out of these 111 individuals, 88% were over 60 years of age and 84% were receiving palliative care. These data have been compiled from doctors’ reports and death certificates.
Opponents ofthis legislation say that they are “concerned”. They believe that it will lead to “hasty decisions”, “incorrect diagnoses” and “decreasing support for palliative care”.
Note from Gènéthique: In early June, the Compassion and Choices Association estimated thatmore than 500 prescriptions for lethal products had been issued in 1 year: California: more than 500 prescriptions one year on from the legalisation of medically assisted dying.
Medical press, Julie Watson (27/06/2017)