Last fall legal experts found current permission in Hawaii law for aid in dying. A poll showed a huge majority support the option. Local leaders formed a chapter and a physicians’ advisory council to implement the practice.
This winter, experienced hospice and medical leaders from Oregon toured the state to educate volunteers, doctors and community leaders.
In October, a panel of experts on Hawaii law, medicine, elder care, and legislative and end-of-life issues discussed aid in dying. The experts concluded Hawaii physicians may already provide aid in dying subject to professional best-practice standards.
Hawaii’s largest newspaper and ABC News reported on the development.
We have identified a core group of physicians willing to practice aid in dying and speak out for patient choice. Courageous, skilled and respected medical practitioners lead our growing Physician Advisory Council.
Supporters marched in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade. They reached out at the accompanying rally to other justice activists, gaining new recruits to defend end-of-life choice.
Our advocates were on the ground in the legislature preventing any restrictive bill from moving forward.
With local advocates and organizations we are building a massive grassroots force ready to rise up and support implementation of aid in dying.
A series of trainings helped channel citizens’ strong support for choice at life’s end into effective action.
We hosted multi-island public education presentations featuring: Ann Jackson, former executive director of the Oregon Hospice Association, and Dr. Devon Webster, both a cancer specialist and survivor, who recently discussed aid in dying on “The Dr. Oz Show.”
Our Hawaii Executive Council, composed of highly respected caregivers, community leaders and legal experts, will serve as educators and spokespeople for patient choice.
We will prepare a legislative contingency plan and organize constituent visits to educate lawmakers about current law and how patients suffer when their choices go unrecognized. We will also assess lawmakers’ views on end-of-life choice so we can move quickly to mobilize supporters.
In January, Compassion & Choices released a poll of Hawaii voters’ opinions. The results:
77% favor allowing those who are dying of a terminal disease the choice to request and receive medication from their physician to bring about a peaceful death.
90% agree the decision about aid in dying is a personal one between patient and doctor.