Category Archive: Press Release

  1. Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown Endorses State’s End-of-Life Option Act

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    Dr. David Grube, Compassion & Choices National Medical Director

    Congressman Anthony G. Brown (4th Dist./Prince George’s Co./Anne Arundel Co.), who was Maryland’s Lt. Governor from 2007-2015, today endorsed the Maryland medical aid-in-dying legislation during a bill hearing before the Senate Judicial Proceeding Committee.

    The bill, the End-of-Life Option Act (Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer Act, SB311/HB399), would give mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live the option to get a doctor’s prescription for medication they can take if their suffering becomes intolerable, so they can die peacefully in their sleep.

    “…only the person confronting their own mortality can decide if their pain is truly unbearable. This bill provides the dying person with the…power to decide when and how they die,” wrote Rep. Brown in a letter read by the End-of-Life Option Act sponsor, Sen. William (Will) C. Smith, Jr. (Dist. 20/Montgomery Co.), vice chair of the Senate Judicial Proceeding Committee during the hearing. “Maryland can implement this option in a safe and effective manner … patients suffering from painful terminal conditions want and deserve the choice to direct their own care.”

    Congressman Brown’s endorsement comes one day after a new Goucher poll shows Marylanders support medical aid in dying by a 2-1 margin (62% vs. 31%), including most voters in every demographic group surveyed: registered Independent voters (69%), registered Democratic voters (61%), registered Republican voters (55%), progressives (78%), moderates (63%), conservatives (47% support to 43% oppose), Whites(68%), Blacks (49% support vs. 40% oppose), other ethnic groups (62%), men (68%), women (56%), Montgomery Co./Prince Georges Co. (63%), Central Baltimore metro area (60%), and outside urban corridor (63%).

    “The farthest thing from my mind is dying,” testified Rockville resident Carol Preston, a cancer survivor. “If I relapse or develop another cancer that robs me of a decent quality of life. If I am terminal, in pain, suffering – I want options. I may never use that prescription – but I take comfort to know it is available.”

    “I am 82 years old and very healthy and strong. However, someday I will die, and I am terrified of what the end-game will be for me, and you should be also,” testified Rosalind Kipping, a Montgomery County resident whose 5’11” husband David died an agonizing death from cancer and weighed less than 90 pounds when he died. “We only get to die once and we should be able to do it our own way.”

    There are 68 bill cosponsors out of 188 lawmakers. Other supporters include the ACLU, Libertarian Party of Maryland, Central Atlantic Conference of the United Church of Christ, Suburban Maryland Psychiatric Society, Unitarian Universalist Church, United Seniors of Maryland, WISE (Women Indivisible Strong Effective), Marylanders for End-of-Life Options, and Compassion & Choices Maryland, which is leading the grassroots campaign to pass the bill.

    “…there is no cure for dying, and dying has become much more complicated,” testified Dr. David Grube, national medical director for Compassion & Choices, a former chairman of Oregon Medical Board and a retired family physician who has written prescriptions for medical aid in dying in Oregon. “Death is not the enemy. The enemy is intolerable terminal suffering…the residents of Maryland can trust your Maryland End-of-Life Option Act to provide peace of mind to people who are dying, and to their loved ones.”

    According to a 2016 Maryland State Medical Society survey, 65 percent of its members supported changing the organization’s position to supporting the state’s medical aid-in-dying bill (50.2%) or adopting a neutral stance on it (14.6%). The society subsequently adopted a neutral stance on the bill.

    “I strongly support this End-of-Life Option Act,” testified Dr. Seth Morgan, a Montgomery County resident and board-certified neurologist disabled with multiple sclerosis and wants the option of medical aid in dying. “Like many others with disabilities, I value my right to make independent choices. I find it both condescending and offensive when organizations attempt to speak on behalf of all of us with disabilities.”

    “We believe that the processes outlined in the bill are in the best interests of patients, physicians and the community,” testified Dr. Cynthia Turner-Graham, a board-certified psychiatrist in Gaithersburg who is president of the Suburban Maryland Psychiatric Society. “In contrast [to the tragedy of suicide], individuals eligible for aid in dying have terminal, untreatable illnesses and do not suffer from distorted thinking or impaired judgment. For them, being denied the option of aid in dying is the real tragedy.”

  2. Legislatura Lista para Considerar Proyecto de Ley que Permita A Personas Con Enfermedades Terminales Poner Fin A La Vida Pacíficamente

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    Un medida para ampliar opciones de cuidados de fin de vida, se ha vuelto a presentar en la Legislatura de Nevada. Patrocinada por el Senador David Parks (D-Las Vegas) y otros 16 legisladores, la SB 165  permitiría a los adultos con enfermedades terminales, en pleno uso de sus facultades mentales y con seis meses de vida, la opción de solicitar y obtener una receta para tomar un medicamento y poder morir pacíficamente. La ley convertiría a Nevada en la novena jurisdicción que permitirá a pacientes con enfermedades terminales, obtener esta opción de fin de vida.

    El proyecto de ley contiene las mismas medidas de seguridad para pacientes que han funcionado muy bien en otros estados, dijo la Dra. Barbara Thornton, ex profesora de ética y asuntos para fin de vida de la Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad de Nevada, quien ahora es Directora el Nevada Coalition for Death with Dignity o Coalición de Nevada para la Muerte con Dignidad.

    “Este es un proceso bien estructurado que asegura que los pacientes estén siempre en control de sus decisiones de fin de vida, con importantes medidas de seguridad para asegurar que el paciente pueda tomar decisiones acertadas de cuidados médicos, y que no se encuentre bajo la influencia indebida de otra persona”, dijo Thornton. “Ya es tiempo que se les permita la opción de muerte con dignidad a los pacientes que están muriendo en Nevada”.

    Las medidas de seguridad principales y provisiones clave en el proyecto de ley incluyen las siguientes:                                                                                                                  

    • El paciente deberá ser diagnosticado por dos médicos, con una condición terminal y con un pronóstico de vida de seis meses.

     

    • El paciente debe ser considerado como una persona en pleno uso de sus facultades mentales. Si existe alguna duda de la condición mental del paciente,  puede ser referido a un profesional de salud mental acreditado.
    • El paciente debe ser informado de todas las opciones de fin de vida, incluyendo cuidados paliativos y cuidados de hospicio.

     

    • El paciente debe hacer una petición verbal y una por escrito, con menos de 15 días de diferencia.  

     

    • La petición por escrita debe ser firmada por dos testigos, que no sean familiares o herederos.

     

    • El medicamento deberá ser auto administrado por el paciente.

     

    • Los profesionales de cuidados de salud, hospitales o farmacólogos, pueden optar por no participar en la ley por cualquier motivo.

     

    • El paciente puede rescindir la solicitud en cualquier momento.

     

    • Los seguros de vida o cualquier otro seguro, no podrán ser invalidados por el uso de dicha ley.               

    Respaldado por dos organizaciones a nivel nacional – Compassion & Choices y Death with Dignity National Center – the Nevada Coalition for Death with Dignity o Centro Nacional para Muerte con Dignidad- la Coalición para Muerte con Dignidad de Nevada, también incluye a los directores,  Dr. Charles Held, MD, el Dr. Robert Rabkin, MD, y el Dr. Greg Hayes, MD, así como un respaldo creciente de apoyo. Una reciente encuesta

    por el Public Policy Polling, mostró que alrededor del 71% de los residentes de Nevada apoyan los derechos de las personas que se están muriendo para que puedan tomar esta decisión.

    “Los hechos y la evidencia de 40 años combinados de experiencia dentro de 8 jurisdicciones, concluyen que la ayuda médica para morir protege a los pacientes”, afirmó Kim Callinan, directora executiva de Compassion & Choices. “Hago un llamado a nuestros legisladores de Nevada a que ignoren las políticas y que permitan que la evidencia, los datos y el fuerte apoyo público, sea lo que los guíe al formular de sus políticas, para que este año se apruebe esta opción compasiva de fin de vida”.

    “Lo que hemos visto después de más de 20 años de experiencia en Oregón es que esta ley ha funcionado a la perfección para proteger a los pacientes, sus familiares y a los profesionales de cuidados de salud, mientras que proporciona una muerte digna y pacífica para aquellas personas que se encuentran al final de la vida”, dijo Peg Sandeen, directora ejecutiva del  Death with Dignity National Center o Centro Nacional de la Muerte con Dignidad. “Estamos apoyando a los ciudadanos de Nevada y a sus legisladores que luchan por esta ley porque sabemos que mejorará de manera significativa los cuidados de fin de vida de todos los ciudadanos de Nevada”.

    El proyecto de ley se pasará al Comité de Salud y Servicios Humanos del Senado.

  3. Nevada Legislature Set to Consider Bill to Allow Terminally Ill To End Life Peacefully

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    A bill to expand end-of-life care options has been reintroduced in the Nevada Legislature. Sponsored by Senator David Parks (D-Las Vegas) and 16 other legislators, SB 165 would allow mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months to live the option to request and receive a prescription for medication which they could take to die peacefully. The law would make Nevada the 9th jurisdiction to allow terminally ill patients this end-of-life option.

    The bill contains the same safeguards for patients which have worked so well in other states, said Dr. Barbara Thornton, a former professor of ethics and end of life issues at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, who now is a director of the Nevada Coalition for Death with Dignity.

    “This is a well constructed process that ensures the patients are always in control of their end-of-life decisions with significant safeguards to ensure the patient is able to make sound health care decisions, and is not under the undue influence of someone else,” said Thornton. “It is past time we allow the option of death with dignity for dying patients in Nevada.”

    The core safeguards and key provisions in the bill include:

    • The patient must be diagnosed with a terminal condition by two physicians and have six months left to live.
    • The patient must be judged of sound mind and may be required to visit with a licensed mental health professional, if there is any concern they lack capacity.
    • The patient must be informed of all end-of-life choices including palliative care and hospice care.
    • The patient must make both an oral and written request at least 15 days apart.
    • The written request must be signed by two witnesses, one of whom is not a family member or heir.
    • The medication must be self-administered by the patient.
    • Health professionals, hospitals or pharmacists may choose not to participate for any reason.
    • The patient may rescind the request at any time, in any manner.
    • Life and other insurance cannot be invalidated by use of this law.

    Backed by two national organizations – Compassion & Choices and the Death with Dignity National Center – the Nevada Coalition for Death with Dignity also includes as directors Dr. Charles Held, M.D., Dr. Robert Rabkin, M.D., and Dr. Greg Hayes, M.D., and continues to grow. A 2017 poll conducted by Public Policy Polling showed that some 71% of Nevada residents support the rights of dying people to make this choice.

    “The facts and evidence from 40 combined years of experience in 8 jurisdictions is conclusive: medical aid in dying protects patients,” said Kim Callinan, CEO of Compassion & Choices. “I urge our Nevada lawmakers to ignore politics and let the evidence, data and strong public support guide your policy making and pass this compassionate end-of-life option this year.”

    “What we have seen after 20-plus years of experience in Oregon is that this law has worked flawlessly to protect patients, family members and health care professionals while providing a peaceful and dignified death for those at the end of life,” said Peg Sandeen, Executive Director of the Death with Dignity National Center. “We are supporting Nevada citizens and their legislators fighting for this law because we know it will significantly improve end of life care for all Nevada citizens.”

    The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services.

  4. Congressman Elijah Cummings Endorses Maryland End-of-Life Option Act

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    Rev. Charles McNeil, Kim Callinan, Diane Rehm and Dr. Michael Strauss testifying at Maryland hearing on February 15, 2019.

    Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings (7th Dist./Baltimore), the first African American to be named Speaker Pro Tem in the Maryland House of Delegates, today endorsed the Maryland medical aid-in-dying legislation during a bill before the Joint Committee on Health and Government Operations and House of Delegates Judiciary Committee.

    The bill, the End of Life Option Act (Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer Act, SB311/HB399), would give mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live the option to get a doctor’s prescription for medication they can take if their suffering becomes intolerable, so they can die peacefully.

    “…I have experienced the loss of far too many people…some of whom suffered for months knowing they were about to die,” wrote Rep. Cummings in a letter read by Joint Committee on Health and Government Operations Chair Delegate Shane E. Pendergrass (Dist. 13, Howard Co.) during the hearing. “…there are those among us whose conscience can never accept that any person should the right to choose the manner and timing of their passing [but] at the end of life, an individual’s right to self-determination about one of the most personal decisions that anyone could make supersedes the moral sensibilities of others.”

    Congressman Cummings’ endorsement comes one day after a new poll by Public Policy Polling showed Marylanders support medical aid in dying by a 3-1 margin (66% to 20%), including majority support from African Americans (59%) and every other demographic group (Independents: 73%, Democrats: 70%, Republicans: 53%, Whites: 69%, Catholics: 65%, Protestants: 62%, Jews: 67%, and Muslims: 52%).

    “My tumors…now in my lungs and liver…are like special ops soldiers…the sheer terror that suddenly sneaks upon me; the fatigue, the vomiting, the numbness and burning in my hands and feet,” said stage IV incurable cancer patient Marci Rubin, a Chevy Chase resident. “Don’t say you understand me. Promise me you will help me…Please don’t let me languish away, fighting for my last shallow breaths.”

    “I sat by my husband’s side as he slowly died,” testified WAMU podcast host Diane Rehm, whose husband of 54 years, John Rehm, died in agony in a Chevy Chase nursing home from Parkinson’s disease. “Watching John in those last 10 days of his life made me angry. Why did our laws infringe upon an individual’s decision to peacefully die when dying was inevitable within a few months? … please pass this bill into law, authorizing medical aid in dying for those terminally-ill Marylanders who seek it.”

    There are 68 bill cosponsors out of 188 lawmakers. Other supporters include the ACLU, Libertarian Party of Maryland, Central Atlantic Conference of the United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist Church, United Seniors of Maryland, WISE (Women Indivisible Strong Effective), Marylanders for End-of-Life Options, and Compassion & Choices Maryland, which is leading the grassroots campaign to pass the bill.

    “Data demonstrates the implementation of medical aid in dying contributes to more candid conversations between doctors and patients; higher hospice usage rates and improved palliative care training for physicians,” said Kim Callinan, CEO of Compassion & Choices and a Maryland resident for 20+ years who lives in Kensington. “Maryland lawmakers have a rare trifecta with this bill: widespread public support, conclusive data that it will improve end of life care, and it costs almost nothing to implement.”

    According to a 2016 Maryland State Medical Society survey, 65 percent of its members supported changing the organization’s position to supporting the state’s medical aid-in-dying bill (50.2%) or adopting a neutral stance on it (14.6%). The society subsequently adopted a neutral stance on the bill.

    “Until you have held the hand of a dying person who is suffering, you may not understand the comfort this option could bring,” testified Rev. Charles McNeill, a former Washington, D.C. police officer and an Army veteran who lives in Ft. Washington, is president of the National Capital Baptist Region, and a member of Compassion & Choices African American Leadership Council. “…your decision about supporting this legislation should not just depend on whether or not you would use the law, but whether or not you would stand in the way of someone suffering at the end of life, who feels like they need it.”

    The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the End-of-Life Option Act, sponsored by committee vice-chair, Sen. William (Will) C. Smith, Jr. (Dist. 20/Montgomery Co.), this Tuesday, Feb. 19.

  5. Medida de Ayuda Médica Para Morir en Nuevo México Pasa Comité Judicial de Cámara de Representantes

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    El Comité Judicial de la Cámara de Representantes de Nuevo México, aprobó hoy, con un voto de 9-3 una medida que permitiría a los adultos con enfermedades terminales la opción de solicitar una receta para un medicamento que pueden tomar para morir en paz cuando su sufrimiento al final de la vida se vuelve insoportable. El proyecto de ley Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act u Opciones de Fin de Vida Elizabeth Whitefield, HB 90, pasa a una votación al piso de la Cámara Baja.

    El Comité de Salud y Servicios Humanos de la Cámara de Representantes, votó para autorizar dicha medida el 28 de enero, con un voto de 4-3. Anteriormente, los consejos municipales de Las Cruces, Santa Fé y Alburquerque votaron en resoluciones bi partidistas para apoyar la ayuda médica para morir. Las encuestas muestran que el 65 por ciento de los residentes de Nuevo México apoyan la legislación.

    “El impulso en la Cámara de Representantes tras el End of Life Options Act es alentador. Estoy contenta de que los comités han tomado acciones rápidas para avanzar la medida durante esta sesión legislativa,” dijo la Representante Debbie Armstrong, quien encabeza el Comité de Salud y Servicios Humanos. “HB 90 creará opciones vitales para los cuidados de fin de vida de los residentes de Nuevo México con enfermedades terminales que necesitan la paz que brinda ahora”.

    “Los miembros del comité han mostrado un compromiso para mejorar los cuidados de fin de vida de todos los residentes de Nuevo México al avanzar la medida Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act”, dijo Elizabeth Armijo, Directora Regional de Campaña y Alcance para Compassion & Choices. “Personas valientes que viven con enfermedades terminales se presentaron hoy para que escuchen sus voces y sus historias, haciendo un llamado a los legisladores para que avancen este medida. Estamos agradecidos por el trabajo que están haciendo la Representante Armstrong, la Senadora Liz Stefanics y la Representante Micaela Lara Cadena al apoyo de la ayuda médica para morir. Asimismo, deseamos que este proyecto de ley avance a tiempo para hacerlo una realidad para quienes viven con una enfermedad terminal”.

    Representante Micaela Lara Cadena de Messilla, dijo: “Le agradezco a mis colegas por avanzar esta legislación importante. Confió que los residentes de Nuevo México tomen sus propias decisiones de fin de vida sin la intervención del gobierno. Como una persona de fe que soy, sé que cada uno de nosotros podemos sostener nuestros valores morales sobre las opciones de fin de vida, mientras que se respete la agenda de otras personas para que tomen sus propias decisiones complejas y privadas sobre su propia muerte”.

  6. New Mexico Medical Aid-in-Dying Bill Passes House Judiciary Committee

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    The New Mexico House Judiciary Committee today approved a bill that would allow terminally ill adults the option to request a doctor’s prescription for medication they can decide to take to die peacefully in their sleep if their suffering becomes unbearable by a  9-3 vote.  The Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act (HB 90) now moves to the House Floor.

    The House Health & Human Services Committee voted to pass the legislation on Jan. 28, by a 4-3 vote, and prior to the session city councils of Las Cruces, Santa Fe and Albuquerque voted on bipartisan resolutions in support of medical aid-in-dying. Polling shows that 65 percent of New Mexicans support the legislation.

    “The momentum behind the End of Life Options Act in the House is heartening. I am pleased that the Committees have taken swift action to advance it this legislative session,” said Rep. Debbie Armstrong, who chairs the House Health & Human Services Committee. “HB 90 will create vital end-of-life care options for terminally ill New Mexicans who need the peace of mind it provides now.”   

    By advancing the Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act, the committee members have shown a commitment to improving end-of-life care for all New Mexico residents,” said Elizabeth Armijo, Regional Campaign & Outreach Manager for Compassion & Choices. “Courageous people living with terminal illnesses have urged their lawmakers to move this legislation forward. We are grateful for the work Rep. Debbie Armstrong, Sen. Liz Stefanics, and Rep. Micaela Lara Cadena are doing in support of medical aid in dying and hope that this bill advances in time to make it a reality for many of those living with a terminal illness.”  

    Rep. Micaela Lara Cadena of Mesilla, said: “I thank my colleagues for advancing this important legislation. I trust New Mexicans to make their own the end-of-life decisions, without government interference. As a person of faith, I know we can each hold our own moral values about end-of-life options, while respecting the agency of  others to make their own private and complex decisions about their deaths.”

  7. Montana House Judiciary Committee Advances Physician Imprisonment Act

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    The Montana House Judiciary Committee today voted 10-9 to advance a bill (HB 284) that would allow the state to imprison, and potentially sentence doctors to the death penalty, for writing a prescription for aid-in-dying medication for a terminally ill adult who requests it to peacefully end their suffering.  The bill now moves to the House floor.

    Introduced by Rep. Carl Glimm (R-Montana State House District 6), HB 284 states: aid in dying is against public policy, and a patient’s consent to physician aid in dying is not a defense to a charge of homicide against the aiding physician. Deliberate homicide in Montana is punishable by a maximum sentence of the death penalty and minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

    HB 284 would overturn the 2009 Montana Supreme Court decision in a suit filed by Compassion & Choices on behalf of a terminally ill truck driver from Billings, Bob Baxter. The court ruled in the case, Baxter v. Montana, that: “…we find no indication in Montana law that physician aid in dying provided to terminally ill, mentally competent adult patients is against public policy.”

    Amy Hetzler, Montana Campaign Manager for Compassion & Choices and Missoula resident stated: “Threatening doctors who want to offer their terminally ill patients the option of a peaceful death with homicide and the death penalty is beyond the pale. This bill is an irresponsible piece of legislation that seeks to erode the rights of Montanans at the end of life and takes away a freedom they have had for nearly 10 years.”

    Roberta King, daughter of Bob Baxter said during the hearing: “People in this state pretty much believe that we know how to take care of ourselves without government interference. We trust our doctors to give us the best possible medical advice. The Montana Supreme Court was right to agree.”

    Nearly 7 out of 10 Montana voters (69%) said they support allowing a mentally capable adult who is dying of a terminal disease and in extreme pain to choose to end his or her life in a humane and dignified way, according to Global Strategy Group survey in April 2013.

  8. New Jerseyans with Life-Shortening Diseases Praise Senate Committee for Approving Aid in Dying Bill

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    New Jerseyans with life-shortening or terminal diseases and others who watched loved ones die in agony praised the Senate Health Committee for approving the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act (S1072/A1504) by a vote of 6 to 3 for consideration by the full Senate. The vote ended an 11-month delay in legislative action on the bill since the Assembly Judiciary Committee approved it last March.

    The bill would allow mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live to have the option to get a doctor’s prescription for medication they can decide to take if their suffering becomes unbearable, so they can die peacefully in their sleep. Washington, D.C. and 7 states — representing nearly 20 percent of the nation’s population with 40 years of combined experience — have successfully implemented this medical practice: California, Colorado, Hawai‘i, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

    Compassion & Choices CEO Kim Callinan testifying before New Jersey Senate Health Committee in support of the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act.

    Compassion & Choices CEO Kim Callinan testifying before New Jersey Senate Health Committee in support of the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act.

    I stand before you today on behalf of the 63 percent of New Jersey registered voters who support passing this legislation to authorize medical aid in dying,” testified Kim Callinan, who was raised in Oradell, New Jersey and is CEO of Compassion & Choices, which is organizing the campaign to pass the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act. “People who use medical aid in dying are not deciding to die; a disease is taking their life. They are merely choosing to avoid the very worst, very last part of the dying process. Medical aid in dying is entirely optional — for both the doctor and the patient.”

    “We all know that those with my disease face a terrible decline, with some people lingering breathless for months before dying,” testified Rumson resident Susan Boyce, who has a progressive, terminal, genetic disease that has reduced her lung function to 29 percent (see full story at bit.ly/SusanBoyceOpedVideo). “I would like the option of medical aid in dying as a last resort to ease my final days. I know it will give me peace of mind simply having the medication, even if I never use it. It will make it easier for me to fully live out the time I have left.”

    In 2016, the Assembly passed an aid in dying bill and the Senate Health Committee approved it, but the full Senate did not vote on the legislation because then-Governor Chris Christie promised to veto it. A 2-1 majority (63% vs. 29%) of New Jersey voters, including most Protestants (73%), Catholics (64%) and other non-Protestant residents (59%), support medical aid in dying, according to the most recent state poll on the issue by Rutgers-Eagleton. Most major newspapers statewide have endorsed the legislation.

    “We are deeply grateful to the Senate Health Committee for responding to the vast majority of voters statewide by passing this compassionate legislation to give dying New Jerseyans the option to peacefully end needless suffering,” said Corinne Carey, New Jersey campaign director for Compassion & Choices. “After over six years of debate on this issue, it’s time for the Senate and Assembly to pass this urgent bill.”

    “[My sister] Melissa is a registered nurse who has small cell lung cancer, which has a terminal diagnosis. I have progressive rheumatoid arthritis, which has filled my lungs with fibrous cysts,” testified Clark resident Laurie Wilcox, LPN (see full story at bit.ly/WilcoxSistersOpedVideo). “We both continue to enjoy our lives despite severe pain, medications, and limitations, but have witnessed firsthand how our final days will end. We both would find deep comfort in knowing that the choice of a peaceful end without suffering would be available if needed in our last few days.”

    “My husband lost an amazing amount of weight and was emaciated – he was skin and bones with the orbital ridges bulging from his face. By the time Herb finally died, he was groaning and in pain – nothing was able to make him comfortable,” testified Paramus nurse Debra Dunn, whose husband died from pancreatic cancer in 2013 (see full story at bit.ly/DebraDunnAIDopedvideo): “I fully respect one’s choice to extend life until the last possible second. So, too, should one’s right to seek aid in dying be respected.”

    Collectively, Compassion & Choices’ three digital video ads featuring Susan Boyce, the Wilcox sisters and Debra Dunn have generated nearly 2.5 million impressions, nearly 300,000 30-second video views and more than 8,400 video post engagements since the campaign launch on October 1. The digital video ads will continue until lawmakers enact the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act into law.

  9. Informe Anual Sobre Ley de Opciones de Fin de Vida de Colorado Muestra Que Está Funcionando Bien a Dos Años De Su Implementación

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    Compassion & Choices elogió hoy el informe anual del Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) (Departamento de Salud Pública y Medio Ambiente de Colorado) que detalla el uso del End of Life Options Act (Ley Opciones de Fin de Vida) durante el segundo año de su implementación.

    Colorado está entre el número creciente de estados que autoriza la ayuda médica para morir como una opción para adultos con enfermedades terminales, que cuentan con seis meses o menos de vida, la opción de solicitar un medicamento que pueden tomar para morir en paz cuando su sufrimiento al final de la vida se vuelve insoportable.

    Datos del informe indican que la Campaña de Acceso de Colorado está mostrando un progreso increíble, en fila o adelante de otros estados que han autorizado la ayuda médica para morir, con un incremento de 74 por ciento en las recetas prescritas en el 2018. La ley entró en vigor el 16 de diciembre del 2016, después de haberse adoptado como una de las medidas electorales más populares en la historia de Colorado, con un 65 por ciento de votos a su favor.

    “Hemos estado trabajando arduamente en los esfuerzos de su implementación”, dijo Samantha Trad, Directora de Campaña de Acceso para Compassion & Choices. ”Algunas de nuestras iniciativas incluyen el Find Care Tool o Herramienta para Búsqueda de Cuidados, en nuestra página de web, para ayudar a los residentes de Colorado a encontrar proveedores de salud que apoyan plenamente todas sus decisiones de fin de vida, así como nuestra línea de consulta confidencial (Doc2Doc) para los médicos. Estamos trabajando para asegurar que cada paciente con una enfermedad terminal en Colorado, tenga acceso equitativo a todas las opciones de fin de vida, incluyendo a los cuidados de hospicio, control de dolor, cuidados paliativos y la ayuda médica para morir”.

    “El número de personas que buscaron esta opción compasiva de fin de vida en el 2018, muestra que la capacidad para tener acceso a la ayuda médica para morir es cada vez más fácil para las personas con enfermedades terminales de Colorado, ya que más médicos están teniendo conversaciones importantes con sus pacientes sobre el fin de vida,” dijo la Senadora Lois Court (D-Distrito 31). “La ayuda médica para morir se está convirtiendo en parte del estándar de cuidados de salud en Colorado, que es lo que yo esperaba cuando presenté los proyectos de ley sobre esta cuestión, y después respaldé esta campaña en el 2016”.

    La Representante Joann Ginal (D-Distrito 52) declaró: “Tener esta opción en Colorado, significa que hemos capacitado a las personas para dirigir mejor sus vidas, así como sus muertes. Perdí a mi hermano por un cáncer en el 2015, por lo cual patrociné muchos proyectos de ley intentando que se autorizara la ayuda médica para morir antes de que los votantes aprobaran el End-of-Life Options Act.  A pesar de los maravillosos cuidados de hospicio, mi hermano permaneció con dolor hasta el final. Este informe muestra que los habitantes de Colorado lograron encontrar autonomía y tranquilidad a través de esta opción de fin de vida”.

    El informe del CDPHE o Departamento de Salud Pública y Medio Ambiente de Colorado se encuentra a la par con un informe publicado por Compassion & Choices el pasado diciembre cuando se cumplió el segundo aniversario de la ley que entró en vigor:

    • 125 adultos con enfermedades terminales que tenían seis meses de vida o menos, utilizaron la opción bajo la ley de solicitar una receta médica y obtener un medicamento que decidieron ingerir, para morir pacíficamente en su sueño si su sufrimiento se volvía insoportable.
    • 104 de las 125 personas que calificaron para el medicamento, lo ingirieron o murieron, ya sea por su enfermedad terminal, o por alguna otra causa, de acuerdo a sus actas de defunción.
    • 88 de 104 personas que murieron, (93%) estaban inscritas en cuidados de hospicio.
    • 66 médicos de Colorado recetaron medicamentos para la ayuda médica para morir.
    • 23 farmacólogos de Colorado dispensaron medicamentos para la ayuda médica para morir.

    El Dr. Cory Carroll, médico familiar en Fort Collins, quien ha prescrito recetas para ayuda médica para morir a cinco pacientes con enfermedades terminales que querían tener la seguridad de poder morir pacíficamente, declaró lo siguiente: “Los datos del informe de CDPHE refuerzan que la ley continúa funcionando bien, y que la opción de ayuda médica para morir se está convirtiendo en parte de las discusiones sobre los cuidados de fin de vida. Apoyo a mis pacientes en sus decisiones de fin de vida, y es crucial que cada adulto con una enfermedad terminal que califique, tenga un acceso significativo a esta opción de cuidados a través de su propio equipo médico”.

    El informe también incluyó tres tablas de estadísticas detalladas que incluyen lo siguiente:

    1. Enfermedades/condiciones terminales subyacentes en pacientes que han sido recetados medicamentos de ayuda médica para morir.
    2. Categorías de medicamentos dispensados a pacientes que se les han recetado medicamentos de ayuda médica para morir.
    3. Resumen de pacientes que murieron después de haberles recetado un medicamento de ayuda médica para morir, incluyendo por sexo, grupo de edades, raza/etnicidad, estado civil, educación, condado de residencia, lugar de muerte y estatus de cuidados de hospicio.

    Los residentes de Colorado y proveedores médicos pueden obtener más información de ayuda médica par morir en CompassionAndChoices.org/Colorado, incluyendo videos, formularios, y el Find Care Tool (Herramienta de Búsqueda de Cuidados), que identifican los hospitales, clínicas y centros de hospicio que han adoptado las políticas de apoyo a pacientes que puedan haber elegido la ayuda médica para morir, como una de sus opciones de cuidados de fin de vida.

  10. New Jerseyans with Life-Shortening Diseases Praise Senate Committee Chairman for Scheduling Vote on Aid in Dying Bill

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    New Jerseyans with life-shortening or terminal diseases and others who watched loved ones die in agony praised state Senator Joseph F. Vitale (Woodbridge) for scheduling a Senate Health Committee vote on the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act (S1072/A1504) on Feb. 7. The vote would end an 11-month delay in legislative action on the bill since the Assembly Judiciary Committee approved it last March.

    The legislation would allow mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live to have the option to get a doctor’s prescription for medication they can decide to take if their suffering becomes unbearable, so they can die peacefully in their sleep. Washington, D.C. and seven states — representing nearly 20 percent of the nation’s population with 40 years of combined experience — have successfully implemented this medical practice: California, Colorado, Hawai‘i, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

    Compassion & Choices NJ volunteer advocate Laurie Wilcox, whose rheumatoid arthritis has invaded her lung tissue that requires her to use an oxygen tank to breathe most of the day.

    “Words cannot express my gratitude to Chairman Vitale for scheduling this vote and the feeling of relief it gives me knowing this Act in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act is one step closer to passage,” said Rumson resident Susan Boyce, who has a terminal lung disease and recorded a digital video ad for Compassion & Choices urging New Jerseyans to ask the legislature to pass the bill.

    “I know there’s going to come a time at the end of this illness where I’m going to encounter suffering. I would very much be relieved if I had the option to have medical aid in dying to die peacefully in my sleep,” she said in the video (see bit.ly/SusanBoyceVideo).

    In 2016, the Assembly passed an aid in dying bill and the Senate Health Committee approved it, but the full Senate did not vote on the legislation because then-Governor Chris Christie promised to veto it. A 2-1 majority (63% vs. 29%) of New Jersey voters, including most Protestants (73%), Catholics (64%) and other non-Protestant residents (59%), support medical aid in dying, according to the most recent state poll on the issue by Rutgers-Eagleton. Most major newspapers statewide have endorsed the legislation.

    “We are deeply grateful to Chairman Vitale for responding to the vast majority of his constituents and to voters across the state by scheduling this vote,” said Corinne Carey, New Jersey campaign director for Compassion & Choices. “I hope his colleagues follow his lead and prevent the small percentage of medical aid-in-dying opponents from overriding the wishes of most New Jerseyans who want this end-of-life, palliative care option.”

    “As nurses with life-shortening diseases, my sister and I know how badly people can suffer at life’s inevitable end, so I thank Chairman Vitale for scheduling a vote on this bill to allow people to have the option to peacefully end needless suffering at the end of life,” said Clark resident Laurie Wilcox, LPN.

    Wilcox, whose rheumatoid arthritis has invaded her lung tissue that requires her to use an oxygen tank to breathe most of the day, and her sister Melissa Wilcox, RN, of Hamilton Township, who has terminal, small cell lung cancer, also recorded a digital video ad asking New Jerseyans to urge the legislature to pass the bill: “At the end stage of my disease, I do not want to suffer through air hunger in the very last days of my life,” said Laurie in the video. “I need the lawmakers to act right now because I may not have tomorrow,” said Melissa in the video (see bit.ly/WilcoxSistersVideo).

    “I thank Chairman Vitale for making this decision because it validates the last six years I have been working to advance medical aid-in-dying legislation,” said Debra Dunn, an operating room nurse in Paramus, who launched the digital video ad campaign on Oct. 1 asking New Jerseyans to urge the legislature to pass the bill, by vividly describing how her husband, Herb, died in agony from pancreatic cancer in 2013 because he did not have access to medical aid in dying: “My husband was constantly in pain,” she said in the video (see bit.ly/DebraDunnVideo).

    Collectively, the digital video ads have generated nearly 2.5 million impressions, nearly 300,000 30-second video views and more than 8,400 video post engagements. The digital video ads will continue until lawmakers enact the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act into law.

  11. Colorado’s Annual Report on End-of-Life Options Act Shows it is Working Well Two Years After Implementation

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    Compassion & Choices today lauded the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) annual report detailing usage of the End-of-Life Options Act during its second year of implementation.

    Colorado is one of a growing number of states, where medical aid in dying is authorized as an option for mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live to request a doctor’s prescription for medication they can choose to take to die peacefully if their suffering becomes unbearable.

    Data from the report indicate that Colorado’s Access Campaign is showing incredible progress, in line or ahead of other states that have authorized medical aid-in-dying, with a 74 percent increase in prescriptions written in 2018. The law took effect on Dec. 16, 2016 after its adoption as one of the most popular ballot measures in Colorado history with 65 percent voting in favor.

    “We have been working hard on implementation efforts,” said Samantha Trad, Access Campaign Director for Compassion & Choices. “Some of our initiatives include a Find Care Tool on our website to help Coloradans find providers who will fully support them in all of their end-of-life decisions and our Doc2Doc confidential consultation line for physicians. We are working to ensure that every terminally ill Coloradan has equal access to all end-of-life care options, including hospice, pain control, palliative care and medical aid in dying.”   

    “The number of people who sought this compassionate end-of-life option in 2018 shows that the ability to access medical aid in dying is becoming easier for terminally ill Coloradans, as more doctors are having these important conversations about the end of life with their patients,” said Senator Lois Court (D-District 31). “Medical aid in dying is becoming part of the standard of care in Colorado, which is what I had hoped for when I brought forward bills on the matter, and then endorsed this campaign in 2016.”  

    Representative Joann Ginal (D-House District 52) stated: “Having this option in Colorado means that we’ve empowered people to best manage their lives and their deaths. I lost my brother to cancer in 2015, which is why I sponsored many bills attempting to authorize medical aid in dying before the voters passed the End-of-Life Options Act. Despite wonderful hospice care, he remained in pain until the end. This report shows that these Coloradans were able to find autonomy and peace of mind through this end-of-life option.”

    The report by CDPHE’s Center for Health and Environmental Data is on par with a report put out by Compassion & Choices in December on the second anniversary of the law taking effect:

    • 125 terminally ill adults with six months or fewer to live utilized the option under the law to request a doctor’s prescription for medication they could decide to take to die peacefully in their sleep if their end-of-life suffering became unbearable.
    • 104 of the 125 people who qualified for the medication, either took it, died from their terminal disease or some other cause, according to their death certificates.
    • 88 of the 104 people who died (93%) were enrolled in hospice care.
    • 66 Colorado physicians wrote prescriptions for aid-in-dying medication.
    • 23 Colorado pharmacists dispensed aid-in-dying medication.

    Dr. Cory Carroll, a family physician in Fort Collins, who has prescribed medical aid in dying to five terminally ill patients who wanted the assurance that they would be able to die peacefully, stated: “The data from the CDPHE report reinforce that the law continues to work well and the option of medical aid in dying is becoming a part of end-of-life care discussions. I support my patients in their end-of-life decisions, and it is crucial that every qualified, terminally ill adult has meaningful access to this care option through their own medical team.”

    The report also included three tables of detailed statistics including:

    1. Underlying terminal illnesses/conditions among patients prescribed aid-in-dying medication.
    2. Categories of medications dispensed to patients prescribed aid-in-dying medication.
    3. Summary of patients who died following prescription of aid-in-dying medication, including by sex, age group, race/ethnicity, marital status, education, county of residence, place of death and hospice enrollment status.

    Colorado residents and medical providers can find more information about medical aid-in-dying, including videos, forms and the Find Care Tool which identifies hospitals, clinics and hospices which have adopted policies supportive of patients who may choose medical aid in dying as one of their end-of-life care options at CompassionAndChoices.org/Colorado.

  12. “Time Is Now” for Maryland Legislature to Pass Medical Aid-in-Dying Bill with 60 Cosponsors

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    Four years after the original introduction of a medical aid-in-dying bill in Maryland in 2015, Compassion & Choices and 100 of its Maryland volunteers today met with state lawmakers to tell them the time to pass the legislation is now after its reintroduction today with 60 cosponsors.

    The bill, the End of Life Option Act (Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer Act), would give mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live the option to get a doctor’s prescription for medication they can take if their suffering becomes unbearable, so they can die peacefully in their sleep.

    The lead authors of the legislation are Senator William (Will) C. Smith, Jr., vice-chair of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, and Delegate Shane E. Pendergrass (District 13, Howard County), chair of the Health and Government Operations Committee. Both committees have jurisdiction over the bill.

    “After four years of debate, as well as educating lawmakers and the public about this bill, it is time

    Tom Quash, Compassion & Choices Chief Marketing and Program Officer, addresses supporters in Annapolis on January 29, 2019.

    for the Maryland Legislature to pass it now,” said Tom Quash, Chief Marketing and Program Officer, Compassion & Choices. “Terminally ill Marylanders with six months or less are counting on their lawmakers to pass this bill this year, so they do not suffer needlessly at the end of their life.”

    Other bill supporters include the ACLU, Maryland Libertarian Party, Central Atlantic Conference of the United Church of Christ, and United Seniors of Maryland, whose member organizations reach 2.5 million seniors.

    “Seniors are not only living longer but most are dying slower with a host of complex issues that can cause unnecessary suffering at the end of life,” said Elizabeth Weglein, president of the United Seniors of Maryland. “For many, this is a time spent in great pain and this law would allow terminally ill, mentally capable patients the option of ending their needless suffering if they so choose. The United Seniors of Maryland urges the Maryland legislature to pass this law this session.”

    According to 2016 Purple Strategies poll, 65 percent of Maryland voters support medical aid in dying, including a majority of African-Americans (59%), Republicans (56%), Catholics (53%), and a plurality of voters who attend religious services weekly (46%).

    “As a Catholic, I have thought long and hard about medical aid in dying, and I support terminally ill patients who want additional options at the end of life to peacefully end unnecessary suffering,” said College Park City Councilmember Denise Mitchell, who is sponsoring resolution in support of bill for consideration by College Park City Council. “The Catholic church currently supports palliative sedation and voluntary stopping of eating and drinking. Medical aid in dying is just another healthcare option at the end of life and it is time to pass this law.”

    Neighboring Washington, D.C. and seven states have authorized medical aid in dying: California, Colorado, and Hawai‘i, Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

    “We believe God is a God of love and compassion, who would not abandon a dying person who is suffering and refuse that person the means to die peacefully, in whatever way is consistent with their own individual faith and beliefs,” said Rev. Dr. Paul Smith, a Presbyterian minister, civil rights activist and member of Compassion & Choices African American Leadership Council from Montgomery Village. “As someone who has spent his ministry with many African Americans who are facing death, like tennis star Arthur Ashe, I would ask our lawmakers to give prayerful consideration and support to this bill.”

    According to a 2016 Maryland State Medical Society survey, 65 percent of its members supported changing the organization’s position to supporting the state’s medical aid in dying legislation (50.2%) or adopting a neutral stance on it (14.6%). The society subsequently adopted a neutral stance on the bill.

    “What is fundamentally at stake here is the freedom and self-respect of the individual,” said Rev. Alex Vishio, Central Atlantic Conference of the United Church of Christ, whose main office is based in Catonsville. “Considerations of the kind of life we are called to lead are paramount to our moral deliberations and should inform matters of public policy.”

  13. Medida de Ayuda Médica Para Morir Pasa Comité de Salud de Camara Baja en Nuevo México

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    (Santa Fe, NM) – El Comité de Salud y Servicios Humanos de la Cámara Baja de Nuevo México aprobó hoy un proyecto de ley que permitiría a los adultos con enfermedades terminales la opción de solicitar una receta médica para un medicamento que pueden decidir para morir en paz, mientras duermen si su sufrimiento se vuelve insoportable por un voto de 4-3. La medida Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act (SB 153/HB 90) o Medida de Opciones de Fin de Vida de Elizabeth Whitefield (SB 153 / HB 90) ahora avanza a al Comité Judicial de la Cámara Baja.

    “El sello de aprobación del Comité de Salud y Servicios Humanos es un paso importante para aprobar una ley que otorgue a los enfermos terminales de Nuevo México la opción de acortar un proceso de muerte insoportable”, dijo Kim Callinan, directora executiva de Compassion & Choices. “Los enfermos terminales de Nuevo México deben tener la misma opción que las personas en otros siete estados y Washington, DC de decidir cuánto el sufrimiento es demasiado para soportar al final de la vida”.

    Los ayuntamientos de Las Cruces, Santa Fe y Albuquerque votaron recientemente a favor de resoluciones bi-partidistas de ayuda médica para morir, y las encuestas muestran que el 65 por ciento de la gente de Nuevo México apoyan la medida.

    El martes, 29 de enero, los partidarios se reunirán en el Capitolio Estatal para reunirse con legisladores como parte de un “Día de Defensa” tras una conferencia de prensa en la Rotunda a las 9 a.m. MDT.

    “Estoy agradecida con mis colegas del Comité que hoy votaron por aprobar la medida End of Life Options Act u Opciones de Fin de Vida. Nadie debe ser obligado a sufrir mientras muere”, dijo la representante Debbie Armstrong, quien preside el Comité de Salud y Servicios Humanos de la Cámara de Representantes. “Esta opción de atención al final de la vida tiene que ver con la libertad personal. Los Nuevo Mexicanos mentalmente capaces con una enfermedad terminal merecen que se respeten sus deseos”.

    “Hemos perdido algunos defensores poderosos y valientes de la ayuda médica para morir en los últimos años, quienes nos dieron su valioso tiempo durante sus últimos días de vida. Les debemos a ellos garantizar que otros enfermos terminales en Nuevo México no sufran innecesariamente al aprobar esta legislación”, dijo Elizabeth Armijo, Gerente de Campaña de Compasión y Opciones en Nuevo México. “Los Nuevo Mexicanos con enfermedades terminales y sus familiares deben saber que este proyecto de ley les permitirá evaluar las opciones adicionales de atención médica disponibles para ellos al final de la vida”.

    María D. Otero, Fundadora / Directora, Nuestra Salud en Albuquerque habló sobre su suegro, Pablo, quien murió el 8 de marzo de cáncer tras dolores extremos de huesos y espalda, dificultad para caminar, incontinencia y debilidad en todo su cuerpo. Pablo era católico devota,  arraigado en su fe hasta los últimos momentos de su vida, pero quería morir en paz sin sufrir innecesariamente.

    “Esto no es vida,’ dijo al recordar sus palabras. “Por favor, dame algo para detener el dolor y terminar con mi sufrimiento”.

    Dan Díaz también dio testimonio de su fallecida esposa Brittany Maynard, la mujer de California que se mudó a Oregón para poder morir en paz cuando ya no podía tolerar el sufrimiento causado por un tumor cerebral.

    “En honor al legado de Brittany, he tenido el privilegio de trabajar con los legisladores de Nuevo México para ayudar a aprobar su medida de Opciones de Fin de Vida”, dijo. “A los Nuevos Mexicanos se les debe ofrecer la opción de un proceso de muerte pacífico sin tener que mudarse de su estado como lo hizo Brittany”.

    La defensa de Brittany inspiró a California, Colorado, el Distrito de Columbia y Hawai‘i a

    aprobar leyes que autorizan la ayuda médica para morir desde su muerte el 1 de noviembre de 2014. Gracias a leyes previamente aprobadas en Oregon, Washington, Vermont y una fallo de la Corte Superior en Montana en una demanda presentada por Compassion & Choices, casi uno de cada cinco estadounidenses viven en una jurisdicción donde está disponible esta opción de cuidado al final de la vida.

    Dan Díaz se dirigirá a los partidarios durante el ‘Día de Defensa’ el martes, junto a la Representante Debbie Armstrong y la Representante Micaela Lara Cadena que apoyan la medida.

  14. New Mexico Medical Aid-in-Dying Bill Clears House Health Committee

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    (Santa Fe, NM) — The New Mexico House Health & Human Services Committee today approved a bill that would allow terminally ill adults the option to request a doctor’s prescription for medication they can decide to take to die peacefully in their sleep if their suffering becomes unbearable by a 4-3 vote. The Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act (SB 153/HB 90) now moves to the House Judiciary Committee.

    “The Health & Human Services Committee Committee’s stamp of approval is a major step towards passing a law to give terminally ill New Mexicans the option to shorten an unbearable dying process,” said Kim Callinan, chief executive officer for Compassion & Choices. “Terminally-ill New Mexicans should have the same option that people in seven other states and Washington, D.C. have to decide how much suffering is too much to bear at life’s end.”

    The city councils of Las Cruces, Santa Fe and Albuquerque recently voted on bipartisan resolutions in support of medical aid-in-dying, and polling shows that 65 percent of New Mexicans support the legislation.

    On Tuesday, January 29,  supporters will gather at the State Capitol to meet with legislators as part of a “Day of Advocacy” after a rally and news conference scheduled at the Rotunda for 9 a.m. MDT.

    “I am grateful that my colleagues on the Committee voted to pass the End of Life Options Act today. No one should be forced to suffer as they die,” said Rep. Debbie Armstrong, who chairs the House Health & Human Services Committee. “This end-of-life care option is about personal freedom and liberty. Mentally capable New Mexicans with a terminal illness deserve to have their wishes honored.”

    “We have lost some powerful and courageous advocates for medical aid in dying in recent years who gave us their precious time during their last days of life. We owe it to them to ensure that other terminally ill New Mexicans do not suffer needlessly by passing this legislation,” said Elizabeth Armijo, Regional Campaign & Outreach Manager for Compassion & Choices. “Terminally-ill New Mexicans and their families need to be made aware that this bill would allow them to evaluate additional healthcare options available to them at the end of life.”

    María D. Otero, Founder/Director, Nuestra Salud in Albuquerque, spoke about her father-in-law Pablo, who died of cancer March 8 after suffering from extreme bone and back pain, difficulty walking, incontinence and weakness throughout his frail body. A devout Catholic, Pablo was grounded in his faith to the last moments of his life, but he wanted to die peacefully without needlessly suffering.

    “This is not living,” she said as she recalled his words. “Please give me something to stop the pain to end my suffering.”

    Testimony was also provided by Dan Diaz, who spoke of his late wife Brittany Maynard, the California woman who moved to Oregon so she could die peacefully when she could no longer tolerate the suffering caused by a brain tumor.

    “In honor of Brittany’s legacy, it’s been my privilege to work with New Mexico legislators to help pass their End of Life Option Act,” he said. “New Mexicans should be afforded the option of a gentle dying process without having to move from their state as Brittany did.”

    Brittany’s advocacy inspired California, Colorado, the District of Columbia and Hawai‘i to pass laws authorizing medical aid in dying since she died on Nov. 1, 2014. Thanks to previously passed laws in Oregon, Washington, and Vermont, and a Montana Supreme Court ruling in a lawsuit filed by Compassion & Choices, nearly one out of five Americans live in a jurisdiction where this end-of-life care option is available.

    Dan Diaz is also slated to address supporters during Tuesday’s advocacy day along with bill sponsor Rep. Debbie Armstrong and supporter Rep. Micaela Lara Cadena.

  15. Group Releases 3rd Video for Digital Ad Campaign to Pass NJ Aid-in-Dying Bill Soon

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    Compassion & Choices today released its third video in a digital video ad campaign featuring passionate advocates of New Jersey’s Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act (A1504/S1072) urging the state Assembly and Senate to pass the bill soon.

    The two prior digital video ads featuring Paramus nurse Debra  Dunn’s description of her husband Herb’s horrific death and two sisters who are nurses disabled by life-shortening diseases, Laurie and Melissa Wilcox, started running on multiple digital platforms on Oct. 9. Collectively, they have generated nearly 1.5 million impressions, nearly 120,000 30-second video views and more than 5,300 video post engagements. The ads will continue until lawmakers enact the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act into law.

    The new video features terminally ill Rumson resident Susan Boyce. She urges New Jerseyans to write their lawmakers in support of the legislation and to bring it to the floor of the Assembly and Senate for a vote at:CompassionAndChoices.org/New-Jersey. Their video is posted at: bit.ly/SusanBoyceVideo.

    “I have…a genetic disease that has had the effect of reducing my lung function to 29 percent. Every time I get any kind of lung infection, my immune system overreacts and has damaged my lungs. There’s nothing to reverse the progress of the lung disease,” says Boyce. “I’m terminally ill … I have a supportive loving family that help take care of me. But I know there’s going t

    Susan Boyce, terminally ill volunteer advocate with Compassion & Choices.

    Susan Boyce, terminally ill volunteer advocate with Compassion & Choices.

    o come a time at the end of this illness where I’m going to encounter suffering. I would very much be relieved if I had the option to have medical aid in dying to die peacefully in my sleep.”

    A 2-1 majority (63% vs. 29%) of New Jersey voters, including most Protestants (73%), Catholics (64%) and other non-Protestant residents (59%), support medical aid in dying, according to the most recent state poll on the issue by Rutgers-Eagleton. Major newspapers statewide have endorsed the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act.

    “Every month the legislature delays passing this bill, means more New Jerseyans will suffer needlessly at the end of life,” said Corinne Carey, New Jersey campaign director for Compassion & Choices. “They cannot afford to wait any longer for lawmakers to act.”

    Medical aid in dying is authorized in Washington, D.C. and seven states: California, Colorado, Hawaiʻi, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. Collectively, these jurisdictions represent nearly 1 out of 5 Americans (19%) and have 40 years of combined experience safely using this end-of-life care option.

  16. Former Nurse and Physician Assistant Authors Book on Taboo Topic: How to Live Your Values and Die Peacefully

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    Barbara Coombs Lee, President, Compassion & Choices

    An ER and ICU nurse and physician assistant for 25 years, Barbara Coombs Lee has written a critically acclaimed, groundbreaking book about the taboo topic of how to live strong to the end.

    Titled Finish Strong: Putting Your Priorities First at Life’s End, the book is based on her decades as a clinician, caring for dying patients who suffered needlessly, and decades more as an advocate, empowering people to avoid that fate. Its recommendations come with both the authority of knowledge and experience, and the compassion of one who knows firsthand how challenging the end-of-life journey can be. Finish Strong is available for purchase now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indie Bound at: bit.ly/FinishStrongBookBuy.

    “As baby boomers moved through significant life stages, we changed every one. Dying will be no different,” writes Coombs Lee, a baby boomer herself, born in 1947. “This book … promotes a brave new model of medical decision-making. It supports candor, curiosity and individual agency. It offers alternatives to the conveyor-belt approach of automatic, futile and burdensome overtreatment … Americans’ blind faith in medical authority … is about to undergo a sea change. The purpose of this book is to help people navigate and implement that change.”

    The usual advice about advance directives and conversations is important but woefully inadequate. This book describes concrete action in the here and now to help live our best lives to the end.

    Finish Strong is the kind of book that comes along once in a generation, and Barbara Coombs Lee is nothing short of a historic figure. This book is a game-changing, paradigm-shifting work that will define an inflection point in the way our country thinks about and cares for people who are dying,” writes David Muller, M.D., Dean for Medical Education, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. “This is a book that every one of us must read, and that we’ll all refer to repeatedly over the course of our lifetimes.”

    Coombs Lee, an attorney who co-authored the nation’s first law authorizing medical aid in dying, the 1994 Oregon Death with Dignity Act, has worked for over 50 years in healthcare as a clinician, policymaker and advocate, most recently as CEO and now president of Compassion & Choices. It is the nation’s oldest and largest organization working to empower people to expand and improve their end-of-life care options.

    Under her leadership, Compassion & Choices successfully led and supported legal and legislative campaigns to authorize medical aid in dying as an option for terminally ill adults in Washington, D.C., and seven states: California, Colorado, Hawai‘i, Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington to end their suffering peacefully.

    “The terminally ill people I work with … want options that can allow death to come peacefully,” writes Coombs Lee. “But one out of every five U.S. adults will die in the ICU—because intense technology remains the signature of a healthcare system that views death as a failure.”

    “Navigating the final stages of a progressive illness like ALS or Parkinson’s, emphysema, cancer or heart disease is hard … this is likely in your future, either on behalf of a loved one or for yourself,” concludes Coombs Lee. “… as someone who’s floundered, made mistakes, and suffered in the course of trying to navigate this rocky terrain. I hope by sharing how I fell short of my own ideals in dealing with my parents, you may be spared similar heartache.”

    Finish Strong is for those of us who want an end-of-life experience to match the life we’ve enjoyed — defined by love, purpose and agency. We know we should prepare but are unsure how to think and talk about it, how to live true to our values and priorities as vigor wanes, and how to make our wishes stick, even if we can’t lift a finger to make it so.

    Notable chapters include “Overtreatment and Diminishing Returns,” “Let Me Die Like a Doctor” and “Escaping Dementia.” Here is YouTube video of Barbara talking about how to escape dementia: bit.ly/FinishStrongEscapingDementia

    The empowering Finish Strong will guide you through:

    • Finding a partner-doctor well-suited to your values and beliefs who exhibits humanity, deference and frankness.
    • Staying off the “overtreatment conveyor belt.”
    • Identifying what matters most as advancing illness takes its toll and defining your priorities.
    • Having meaningful conversations with doctors and family about expectations and wishes for life’s last precious months.
    • Knowing when “slow medicine” is the best option to maintain quality of life.
    • Navigating home hospice, the ultimate healing experience.

    Written with candor and clarity, this book’s stories, facts and dialogue will help prepare for latter days that retain the purpose, grace and dignity you’ve always valued. It can help you Finish Strong.

    The book is receiving rave reviews from numerous respected thought leaders, ranging from Jeanne Phillips, nationally syndicated “Dear Abby” advice columnist to spiritual icon Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, NPR radio show host Diane Rehm, author of On My Own and former NBC correspondent Betty Rollin, author of Last Wish and First, You Cry:

    “A movement is afoot in end-of-life medical care, but doctors are not its leaders … this book is the field manual to turn wilderness exploration into a rewarding adventure.” — Haider Warraich, M.D., Foreword Excerpt for Finish Strong, Author of Modern Death: How Medicine Changed the End of Life

    “There is no more authoritative or informed individual than Barbara Coombs Lee to lead us in the battle for a peaceful and dignified end-of-life journey.” — Diane Rehm, former host and executive producer of NPR syndicated The Diane Rehm Show, Author of On My Own

     Finish Strong is the clarion call for the end-of-life choice movement just as Our Bodies, Ourselves was for the women’s movement.” Jeanne Phillips, nationally syndicated “Dear Abby” advice columnist

     “As a society, we need to acknowledge that a positive dying experience should not be left to chance. Barbara shows that it is not something to fear; instead, it’s something we should revere.” Dan Diaz, husband of the late Brittany Maynard, advocate for end-of-life care options

    Finish Strong serves as a ‘field manual’ for exploration of autonomy and self-determination in healthcare during the closing years of life.” — Gov. Barbara Roberts, Oregon Governor 1991–95, author of Death Without Denial, Grief Without Apology

    “Adults have the right to decide their own course of treatment at the end of life. Barbara Coombs Lee’s wise and compassionate book shows how best to do that.” — Betty Rollin, Author of Last Wish and First, You Cry

    “Barbara Coombs Lee’s new book Finish Strong will help people who want to pass the gift of life back into the hands of their God thankfully and with dignity. It is a blessing.” Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

  17. Ex Enfermera y Asistente Médico Escribe Libro Sobre Tema Tabú: Cómo Vivir De Acuerdo a Sus Valores y Morir En Forma Pacífica

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    Barbara Coombs Lee, Presidenta, Compassion & Choices

    Barbara Coombs Lee, enfermera de sala de urgencias y cuidados intensivos y asistente médico por 25 años, escribió un libro que está rompiendo barreras y siendo aclamado por la crítica, por el tema tabú de cómo vivir con fortaleza hasta el final de vida.

    El libro titulado Finish Strong: Putting Your Priorities First at Life’s End (Terminar Fuerte: Poniendo Sus Prioridades Primero al Final de la Vida), está basado en las décadas de experiencia de Coombs Lee como personal clínico al cuidado de pacientes moribundos que sufrieron innecesariamente. La autora, también cuenta con décadas como defensora, empoderando a personas a evitar ese destino. Sus recomendaciones vienen con la autoridad del conocimiento, la experiencia, y la compasión de esa persona que sabe de primera mano sobre los retos que puede tener una jornada de fin de vida. Finish Strong está disponible para su compra ahora en Amazon, Barnes & Noble e Indie Bound en:  bit.ly/FinishStrongBookBuy.

    “A medida que los baby boomers pasan por etapas significativas de la vida, hemos cambiado cada una de esas etapas. El morir no será diferente”, escribió Coombs Lee, una baby boomer nacida en 1947. “Este libro … promueve un modelo nuevo y valiente en la toma de decisiones médicas. Apoya la franqueza, la curiosidad y la agenda individual de una persona. Ofrece alternativas a un tratamiento excesivo, automático, inútil y desgastante… La fe ciega de los estadounidenses hacia la autoridad médica … está a punto de tomar un cambio radical. El propósito de este libro es ayudar a las personas a navegar e implementar dicho cambio “.

    El consejo habitual sobre las directivas anticipadas y las conversaciones es importante pero lamentablemente es inadecuado. Este libro describe acciones concretas para ayudarnos a llevar una mejor vida hasta el final.

    Finish Strong es el tipo de libro que aparece solo una vez dentro de una generación, y Barbara Coombs Lee no se queda corta de ser una figura histórica. Este libro es un trabajo que cambia el paradigma y la jugada que definirá un punto de inflexión en la manera en que nuestro país piensa y se preocupa por las personas que se están muriendo”, escribe David Muller, MD, Decano de Educación Médica de la Escuela de Medicina Icahn del Monte Sinaí en Nueva York. “Este es un libro que cada uno de nosotros debemos leer, y al que todos nos referiremos repetidamente durante el curso de nuestras vidas”.

    Coombs Lee es abogada y coautora de la primera ley en el país que autoriza la ayuda médica para morir, la Ley de Muerte con Dignidad de Oregón de 1994. Ella ha trabajado durante más de 50 años como personal clínico, legisladora y defensora, más recientemente como directora ejecutiva y ahora presidente de Compassion & Choices. Dicha organización es la más antigua y grande del país que lucha para empoderar a las personas a que amplíen y mejoren sus opciones de cuidados de fin de vida.

    Bajo su liderazgo, Compassion & Choices dirigió y apoyó de manera exitosa las campañas legislativas que autorizan la ayuda médica para morir como una opción para que los adultos con enfermedades terminales puedan terminar su sufrimiento de manera pacífica en Washington, DC, y en siete estados: California, Colorado, Hawái, Montana, Oregón, Vermont y Washington.

    “Las personas con enfermedades terminales con las que trabajo … desean opciones que les permitan que la muerte llegue de manera pacífica”, escribe Coombs Lee. “Sin embargo, uno de cada cinco adultos en este país morirá en cuidados intensivos, debido a que la tecnología intensa permanece como el sello de un sistema de cuidados de salud que ve la muerte como un fracaso”.

    “Es difícil navegar las etapas finales de las enfermedades progresivas como el ALS o el Parkinson, el enfisema, el cáncer o las enfermedades del corazón… esto es muy probable que surja en su futuro, ya sea a través de un ser querido o en usted mismo”, concluye Coombs Lee. “… como alguien que se ha tambaleado, que ha cometido errores y que ha sufrido al tratar de navegar por este terreno rocoso. Espero que al compartir la forma en que me quede corta con mis ideales al lidiar con mis padres, usted pueda evitarse un dolor de cabeza similar”.

    Finish Strong es para aquellos que deseamos una experiencia de fin de vida que coincida con la vida que hemos disfrutado — una vida definida por amor, con un propósito..  Sabemos que debemos prepararnos, pero no estamos seguros de cómo pensar y hablar de ello, de cómo vivir de acuerdo a nuestros valores y prioridades mientras que el vigor se desvanece. Asimismo, debemos saber cómo prepararnos para hacer que nuestros deseos se lleven a cabo, aunque no podamos levantar un dedo para hacerlo.  

    El consejo habitual sobre las directivas anticipadas y conversaciones sobre el fin de vida son importantes, pero lamentablemente son inadecuadas. Este libro describe una acción concreta en el aquí y ahora para ayudarnos a vivir nuestra vida hasta el final.

    Los capítulos más notables incluyen “Overtreatment and Diminishing Returns (Tratamientos Excesivos y Rendimientos Decrecientes)”, “Let Me Die Like a Doctor (Déjame Morir Como Un Médico)” y “Escaping Dementia (Escapando de la Demencia)”. bit.ly/FinishStrongEscapingDementia

    El poderoso Finish Strong lo guiará a:

    • Encontrar un médico que se apegue a sus valores y creencias y que muestre humanidad, deferencia y franqueza.
    • Mantenerse alejado del tratamiento excesivo.
    • Identificar qué es lo que más cuenta mientras la enfermedad toma su curso y usted pueda definir sus prioridades.
    • Tener conversaciones significativas con sus médicos y familiares sobre las expectativas y sus deseos para los últimos meses más apreciados de vida.
    • Saber cuándo la “medicina lenta” es la mejor opción para mantener la calidad de vida.
    • Navegar los cuidados de hospicio en casa, como una última experiencia de sanación.

    Escrito con franqueza y claridad, las historias, los hechos y el diálogo de este libro ayudarán a prepararlo para que conserve el propósito, la gracia y la dignidad que siempre ha valorado para el final de su vida. Le puede ayudar a Terminar Con Fuerza.

    El libro ha recibido muy buenas críticas de numerosos líderes de renombre, desde Jeanne Phillips, columnista nacional conocida como “Dear Abby”, hasta el ícono espiritual, Arzobispo Emeritus Desmond Tutu, así como la presentadora del programa de radio de NPR Diane Rehm, autora de On My Own y ex corresponsal de NBC Betty Rollin, autora de Last Wish y First, You Cry (Último Deseo y Primero, Tu Lloras):

    “Hay un movimiento en marcha para los cuidados médicos de fin de vida. Sin embargo los médicos no son los que llevan el liderazgo … este libro es el manual práctico que convierte la exploración de la naturaleza en una aventura gratificante”.

    —Haider Warraich, M.D., Prólogo Extracto de Finish Strong, Autor de Modern Death: How Medicine Changed the End of Life

    “No hay persona más autoritativa o informada que Barbara Coombs Lee para dirigirnos en la batalla para una jornada pacífica y digna de fin de vida”.

    —Diane Rehm, ex presentadora y productora ejecutiva de The Diane Rehm Show, Autora de On My Own

    Finish Strong es el llamado de atención para el movimiento de elección de fin de vida, tal como el libro Our Bodies, Ourselves (Nuestros Cuerpos, Nosotros Mismos) lo fue para el movimiento femenino”.

    —Jeanne Phillips, columnista nacional de “Dear Abby”

    “Como sociedad, debemos reconocer que una experiencia positiva de muerte no deberá dejarse al azar. Barbara muestra que no es algo que temer, es más bien algo que debemos respetar”.

    —Dan Díaz, esposo de la fallecida Brittany Maynard, defensor de las opciones para cuidados de fin de vida.

    Finish Strong sirve como un “manual práctico” para la exploración de la autonomía y autodeterminación en los cuidados de salud durante los últimos años de vida”.

    — Gobernadora del estado de Oregón, Barbara Roberts, 1991–95, Autora de Death Without Denial, Grief Without Apology

    “Los adultos tienen el derecho de decidir sobre su propio curso de tratamiento al final de su vida. El libro sabio y compasivo de Barbara Coombs Lee muestra la mejor manera de hacerlo “.

    — Betty Rollin, autora de Last Wish y First, You Cry

    “El libro nuevo de Barbara Coombs Lee, Finish Strong, le ayudará a las personas que quieran pasar el regalo de la vida de regreso a las manos de su Dios en forma agradecida y con dignidad. Es una bendición”.

    — Arzobispo Emeritus Desmond Tutu

  18. End-of-Life Care Group Lauds Department of Health, Facilities and Provider Achievements in Preparing for Medical Aid-in-Dying Law

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    With Hawaii’s Our Care, Our Choice Act in effect as of January 1, Compassion & Choices Hawai‘i at a press conference today applauded the Hawai‘i Department of Health for its statewide preparation and supportive guidance for providers and patients. Compassion & Choices also applauds provider groups, pharmacies and medical facilities for their efforts in setting good policy to support patients who choose to make a request for a prescription under the law and to support for doctors who choose to honor their patients’ end-of-life choices.

    Signed into law on April 5, 2018 by Governor David Ige, the Our Care, Our Choice Act authorizes medical aid in dying as an end-of-life care option to end unbearable suffering. It is the medical practice which gives terminally ill adults with a prognosis of six months or less to live and who are mentally capable of making their own healthcare decisions the option of requesting from their doctor a prescription for medication to die peacefully in their sleep.

    Kat West, national director of policy & programming for Compassion & Choices, which has been conducting a statewide, multi-lingual, volunteer-led Access Campaign since the law was signed, said, “I’m pleased to report that Hawai‘i is ahead of most other states at this stage of the law’s implementation. Already numerous medical provider education events have occurred and more are planned for doctors and other providers; and most healthcare systems/facilities are adopting policies of engaged neutrality that honors patient end-of-life decision-making.” She added, “We encourage residents, no matter which island they reside on, to have conversations with their doctors now about whether their doctor would support them if they were to become terminally ill and request medical aid in dying. We know from experience it is the only way that residents can ensure that they will get the care they want at the end of life.”

    The Hawai‘i Department of Health website provides a patient request form and doctor guidelines, emphasizing the importance of enrolling in hospice as part of end-of-life care. The department website also links to Compassion & Choices’ comprehensive resources for Hawai‘i residents and providers. The Compassion & Choices Hawai‘i website will soon contain a Find Care Tool, the only public resource listing all the medical facilities, medical groups and hospices that have adopted a policy supportive of patient end-of-life choice.  

    Dr. Charles Miller, board certified physician in internal medicine, medical oncology, and hematology, announced that he will serve as medical aid-in-dying attending physician for Kaiser Permanente Hawai‘i patients through the end of the year and will mentor colleagues on this compassionate end-of-life medical practice. Kaiser has also created a patient navigator role and contracted with a psychologist to give a mandatory third mental health consultation required only by Hawaii’s law.

    Terminal cancer patient and medical aid-in-dying advocate John Radcliffe, a Kaiser member who was instrumental in getting the law passed last year, today went on record as Hawaii’s first individual to request a prescription for aid-in-dying medication under the new law. “I don’t know when, or even if, I’ll use it. I’m just so thankful that my doctors and my hospital system are honoring my decision and helping me navigate the process,” he said. “I realize it might not be as smooth a process for many of my fellow Hawai‘i residents who are dying. I intend to use my remaining days to help ensure access for those who need it.”

    Several current and former lawmakers who championed the issue were in attendance, with remarks by Representative Della Au Belatti.

    About the Compassion & Choices Hawai‘i Access Campaign

    Compassion & Choices has over 20 years of experience helping states successfully implement medical aid-in-dying laws. Its multi-lingual Hawai‘i Access Campaign is a volunteer-led effort to educate the community, healthcare professionals, health systems and hospices to ensure terminally ill adults in Hawai‘i have access to the new law. To date:

    • The Campaign has provided hospital and hospice systems statewide with sample policy templates that can be customized to each system.
    • For healthcare professionals, the resource www.compassionandchoices.org/hawaii features Doc2Doc and Pharmacist2Pharmacist consultation services and training videos.
    • For healthcare consumers, the website features a video for residents explaining medical aid in dying, fact sheets and other important resources in English, Japanese, Tagalog, Ilocano, Mandarin, Hawaiian and Korean.

    The Campaign will continue to:

    • Support local public outreach & education teams on each island;
    • Provide free education and materials for doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other healthcare providers including webinars, videos and Doc2Doc consultation calls;
    • Provide technical and policy assistance to hospitals, clinics, hospice facilities and pharmacies statewide; and
    • Work with government agencies, medical associations and other ancillary organizations to ensure broad understanding of the law and meaningful access for those who need it.
  19. Election Analysis Shows Medical Aid in Dying Is Politically Safe Issue to Run On

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    Kim Callinan

    Kim Callinan, CEO, Compassion & Choices

    Contrary to conventional political wisdom, it is politically safe to sponsor legislation to authorize medical aid in dying as an end-of-life care option and run for re-election, concludes a detailed state-by-state election analysis by Compassion & Choices.

    In 2017 and 2018, 127 state legislators served as primary sponsors of medical aid-in-dying bills introduced in 28 states, according to the report. The vast majority of the 90 primary bill sponsors who ran for re-election in 2018 won: Bill sponsors had a 93-percent re-election rate in the primary (83 out of 90) and a 99-percent re-election rate in the general election (82 out of 83).

    “These results may surprise political pundits who think this issue is controversial, but not us, because polling shows the vast majority of Americans across the political, racial and religious spectrum want the option of medical aid in dying to ensure they can die peacefully,” said Kim Callinan, CEO of Compassion & Choices, which advocates for medical aid-in-dying laws across the country. “Given this widespread public support for medical aid in dying, we expect more and more state legislators will respond to the preferences of their constituents and advance legislation to authorize this compassionate end-of-life care option in 2019 and beyond.”

    Four new jurisdictions have authorized medical aid in dying in just the last three years: California in 2015, Colorado in 2016, Washington, D.C., in 2017 and Hawai‘i in 2018. It took 19 years for the first four states to authorize this option: Oregon in 1994, Washington in 2008, Montana in 2009 and Vermont in 2013, so the movement’s recent momentum is self-evident.

    Voters elected or re-elected at least six governors in 2018 who publicly supported medical aid in dying: Gavin Newsom in California, David Ige in Hawai‘i, J.B. Pritzker in Illinois, Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan, Michelle Lujan Grisham in New Mexico and Kate Brown in Oregon. Gubernatorial support is important because governors have the power to veto medical aid-in-dying bills and to veto bills to weaken medical aid-in-dying laws or repeal them.

    “Oregonians spoke loud and clear when they passed the nation’s first medical aid-in-dying law in 1994. It has contributed to Oregon’s status as a leader in hospice and palliative care, and as governor, I work to uphold the will of our voters and would oppose efforts to repeal this law,” read an email statement on Dec. 4, 2018, from Governor Kate Brown’s Press Secretary Kate Kondayen.

    The full report, “2017-2018 Elections & Medical Aid in Dying: A Politically Safe Issue to Run On,” including a detailed, state-by-state analysis and quotes by other gubernatorial candidates who publicly support this issue is available at bit.ly/AidInDyingElectionAnalysis.

  20. Análisis Electoral Muestra Que la Ayuda Médica Para Morir Es Un Tema Políticamente Seguro de Promover

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    Kim Callinan

    Kim Callinan, CEO, Compassion & Choices

    Contrariamente al conocimiento político convencional, es políticamente seguro patrocinar una legislación que autorice la ayuda médica para morir como una opción de cuidado al final de la vida y postularse para la reelección, concluye un análisis detallado de las elecciones estado por estado realizado por Compassion & Choices.

    En 2017 y 2018, 127 legisladores estatales fueron los principales patrocinadores de los proyectos de ley de ayuda médica para morir presentados en 28 estados, según el informe. La gran mayoría de los 90 patrocinadores de dichas medidas se postularon para la reelección en 2018 ganaron: Los patrocinadores del proyecto de ley tuvieron una tasa de reelección del 93 por ciento en las primarias (83 de 90) y una tasa de reelección del 99 por ciento en las elecciones generales (82 de 83).

    “Estos resultados pueden sorprender a los expertos políticos que piensan que este tema es polémico, pero no a nosotros, porque las encuestas muestran que la gran mayoría de los estadounidenses de todo el espectro político, racial y religioso quieren la opción de recibir ayuda médica al morir para asegurarse de que puedan morir pacíficamente”, dijo Kim Callinan, directora ejecutiva de Compassion & Choices, que aboga por leyes de ayuda médica para morir en todo el país. “Dado este amplio apoyo público a leyes de ayuda médica para morir, esperamos que más y más legisladores estatales respondan a las preferencias de sus electores y avancen medidas para autorizar esta opción compasiva de cuidado al final de la vida en 2019 y en el futuro”.

    Cuatro nuevas jurisdicciones han autorizado la ayuda médica para morir en sólo los últimos tres años: California en 2015, Colorado en 2016, Washington, D.C. en 2017 y Hawái en 2018. Los primeros cuatro estados tardaron 19 años en autorizar esta opción: Oregón en 1994, Washington en 2008, Montana en 2009 y Vermont en 2013, por lo que el impulso reciente del movimiento es evidente.

    En 2018, los votantes eligieron o re-eligieron al menos a seis gobernadores que apoyaron públicamente la ayuda médica para morir: Gavin Newsom en California, David Ige en Hawái, J.B. Pritzker en Illinois, Gretchen Whitmer en Michigan, Michelle Lujan Grisham en Nuevo México y Kate Brown en Oregón. El apoyo de los gobernadores es importante porque los gobernadores tienen el poder de vetar los proyectos de ley de ayuda médica para morir y de vetar los proyectos de ley que debilitan las leyes de ayuda médica para morir o de derogarlas.

    “En 1994, los residentes de Oregón fueron muy claros cuando aprobaron la primera ley en la nación de ayuda médica para morir. Ha contribuido al estado de Oregón como líder en cuidados paliativos y de hospicio, y como gobernadora, trabajo para defender la voluntad de nuestros votantes”, indica un comunicado por correo electrónico del 4 de diciembre de 2018 de la secretaría de prensa Kate Kondayen de la Gobernadora Kate Brown. “Y me opondría a los esfuerzos para derogar esta ley ”,

    El informe completo, “Elecciones y Ayuda Médica Para Morir de 2017-2018: Un Asunto Políticamente Seguro Para Promover”, incluyendo un análisis detallado de estado por estado y citas de otros candidatos a gobernador que públicamente apoyan este asunto, está disponible en bit.ly/AidInDyingElectionAnalysis.

  21. Ayuntamiento de Las Cruces Apoya Unánimemente la Ayuda Médica para Morir

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    Compassion & Choices felicitó al Concejo Municipal de Las Cruces por votar unánimemente para aprobar una resolución bipartidista en apoyo a la medida de ayuda médica para morir en Nuevo México.

    Las Cruces es la tercera jurisdicción de Nuevo México que respalda la ayuda médica para morir en los últimos meses, y la segunda en hacerlo con un voto unánime. Los legisladores locales en dos de los municipios más poblados de Nuevo México, Albuquerque y Las Cruces, han expresado un apoyo unánime a la legislación. Estas resoluciones, incluyendo el voto mayoritario de apoyo del Concejo Municipal de Santa Fe, se transmitirán a los legisladores estatales de Nuevo México.

    La ayuda médica para morir es una práctica médica en la que un adulto mentalmente capaz, con una enfermedad terminal y con un pronóstico de vida de seis meses o menos, puede solicitar a su médico un medicamento que pueda tomar para morir en paz mientras duerme. Más de 40 años de experiencia combinada en ocho jurisdicciones autorizadas han demostrado que estas políticas compasivas mejoran el cuidado al final de la vida.

    “Este último voto unánime demuestra el apoyo abrumador a esta legislación por parte de los legisladores y el público en general en Nuevo México”, dijo Elizabeth Armijo, Gerente de Difusión de Campaña Regional del Oeste para Compassion & Choices.

    En enero, los legisladores estatales tendrán otra oportunidad de autorizar esta opción compasiva para el final de la vida la cual es apoyada por el 80% de los residentes de Nuevo México.

    Los partidarios comunitarios dieron un testimonio convincente ante el Consejo Municipal de la Ciudad de Las Cruces sobre el impacto positivo que la futura legislación tendría en los enfermos terminales de Nuevo México. Entre los simpatizantes que declararon estaba la Representante electa del estado de Nuevo México, Micaela Lara Cadena, co-patrocinadora de la medida de 2019.

    La representante electa Cadena anunció que el proyecto de ley de 2019 se titulará End of Life Options Act o Ley de Opciones de Fin de Vida de Elizabeth Whitefield, en honor a la Juez de la Corte Judicial del Segundo Distrito Judicial, Elizabeth Whitefield, una fuerte defensora de la política de ayuda médica para morir hasta su muerte el pasado mes de agosto.

    “En Nuevo México, realmente sabemos que cada uno de nosotros tiene su propio espacio para tomar nuestras propias decisiones morales”, dijo la Representante electa Cadena a los concejales. “También podemos dejar espacio para que otros residentes de Nuevo México tomen este tipo de decisiones por sí mismos.”

    Si el proyecto de ley Opciones de Fin de Vida de Elizabeth Whitefield se convierte en ley, haría de Nuevo México la novena jurisdicción en el país de autorizar la ayuda médica para morir como una opción de cuidado de fin de vida. Oregón, donde se ha autorizado la ayuda médica para morir desde 1997, se han unido en las últimas dos décadas, Washington (2008), Montana (2009), Vermont (2013), California (2015), Colorado (2016), Washington, DC (2017) y Hawái (2018).

    Antecedentes
    En enero de 2014, el Tribunal del Segundo Distrito Judicial de Nuevo México emitió una decisión histórica: que los pacientes con enfermedades terminales y mentalmente competentes tienen un derecho fundamental a la ayuda médica para morir en virtud de la Constitución del Estado de Nuevo México. Desafortunadamente, el Tribunal de Apelaciones revocó esta decisión en agosto de 2015 en una decisión dividida de 2 a 1. Luego de una nueva apelación, a fines de junio de 2016, la Corte Suprema de Nuevo México falló unánimemente en contra del reconocimiento del derecho constitucional a esta opción de fin de vida e indicó que la Legislatura de Nuevo México debería considerar y resolver este asunto.

    En el otoño de 2016, se estableció el End-of-Life Options Coalition o Coalición de Ley de Opciones de Fin de Vida de Nuevo México para abogar por la promulgación de dicha legislación. La Coalición identificó patrocinadores de proyectos de ley tanto para la Cámara de Representantes como para el Senado, redactó una medida de ayuda médica para morir y organizó una campaña completa durante la sesión legislativa de 2017. El proyecto de ley tuvo una audiencia exitosa en la Cámara de Representantes y dos en el Senado. A pesar de los esfuerzos monumentales de defensores y profesionales de la salud de todo el estado, la medida End of Life Options Act de Nuevo México no se aprobó. Tras un debate de una hora de duración en el Senado en pleno, la SB 252 fue derrotada por un estrecho margen de 22-20. El proyecto de ley se presentará de nuevo en la próxima sesión legislativa de 2019.

    La medida de Opciones de Fin de Vida de Elizabeth Whitefield seguirá un modelo cercano a las leyes de ayuda médica para morir de Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California, Colorado, Montana y Washington DC. La Ley brindará una opción compasiva para las personas con enfermedades terminales que padecen una enfermedad o condición incurable. La legislación incluirá muchas de las mismas protecciones importantes que han funcionado en Oregón durante más de 20 años.

  22. Compassion & Choices Publica Reporte de Ley de Opciones de Fin de Vida de Colorado del 2018

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    Dos años después de la implementación del  End-of-Life Options Act o Ley de Opciones de Fin de Vida, que autoriza la ayuda médica para morir para adultos con enfermedades terminales, está claro que la ley está funcionando bien en su etapa de implementación.

    La ley autoriza a los adultos mentalmente capaces y con enfermedades terminales que cuentan con seis meses o menos de vida, la opción de solicitar un medicamento que pueden tomar para morir en paz cuando su sufrimiento al final de la vida se vuelve insoportable. La ley entró en vigor el 16 de diciembre de 2016 después de su adopción como una de las medidas electorales más populares en la historia de Colorado con un 65% de votos a favor.

    La implementación suele ser gradual y lleva tiempo. Según los datos compilados por Compassion & Choices, se calcula que Colorado va por buen camino y en 2018, verá un aumento del 25-30% de recetas prescritas para la ayuda médica para morir.

    En 2017, 37 médicos en todo el estado recetaron a 69 pacientes un medicamento de ayuda médica para morir y según el resumen de datos de 2017 publicado por el Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment  o Departamento de Salud Pública y Medio Ambiente de Colorado, en febrero de 2018, 50 de esos pacientes llenaron su receta, lo cual es típico de otros datos estatales. Muchos pacientes calificados nunca surten sus recetas, pero pasan por el proceso de solicitud para tenerla a la mano en caso de que la necesiten.

    El Dr. Harry Calvino, médico de Fort Collins cuya esposa, Antje Calvino, tomó los medicamentos de ayuda para morir el 19 de agosto de 2018, dijo: “Hace cinco años, a Antje se le diagnosticó un cáncer en el apéndice de etapa 4 y luchó valientemente hasta el final. Ella tenía un dolor constante. Antje tenía excelentes cuidados de hospicio en casa, pero cuando ya no podía levantarse de la cama, decidió que era hora. El 19 de agosto, con su familia a su lado, Antje tomó los medicamentos y murió como ella vivió, en paz, con dignidad y gracia “.

    “Las historias de personas que han utilizado la ley, dejan claro por qué la opción de ayuda médica para morir es importante y se está convirtiendo en una parte normal de las pláticas sobre el fin de la vida”, dijo Samantha Trad, Directora de Campaña de Acceso de Compassion & Choices. “La Campaña de Acceso de Compassion & Choices en Colorado brinda educación y recursos gratuitos para médicos, pacientes y proveedores de cuidado de salud, y trabaja para garantizar que los pacientes calificados, como Antje Calvino, puedan tener una muerte pacífica. Nuestra herramienta Find Care Tool o Herramienta de Cuidados  en internet, por ejemplo, permite a las personas ingresar su código postal y encontrar el hospital u hospicio más cercano que apoye las decisiones sobre el fin de vida de un paciente. El año pasado, casi 18 mil médicos, farmacéuticos y residentes de Colorado visitaron nuestro sitio web bilingüe dedicado a la Campaña de Acceso en Colorado para aprender sobre la ley de ese estado “.

    El Dr. Cory Carroll, médico familiar de Fort Collins, ha prescrito la ayuda médica para morir a cuatro pacientes que querían tener la seguridad de que podrían morir en paz. El Dr. Carroll declaró: “Para mí, esto tiene que ver con la autonomía del paciente, sobre lo que el paciente desea. Apoyo a mis pacientes en sus decisiones sobre el final de la vida, por lo que he recetado medicamentos de ayuda médica para morir a mis pacientes con una enfermedad terminal, que califican y que han decidido que es lo correcto para ellos. Los residentes de Colorado que estén interesados ​​en esta opción deben empezar a consultar con su médico, si les pudiera recetar un medicamento de ayuda para morir en caso de tener una enfermedad terminal. Es crucial que cada adulto con una enfermedad terminal que califique tenga acceso significativo a esta opción de cuidado a través de su propio equipo médico”.

    Datos de Compassion & Choices 2018 Colorado End-of-Life Options Act:

    • En 2018 se verá un estimado de 90-100 recetas de ayuda médica para morir en base a consultas al servicio Doc2Doc de Compassion & Choices (800.247.7421 o [email protected]), su programa de consulta de fin de vida e información que los partidarios y los proveedores han compartido. El número exacto estará disponible cuando el estado publique su informe anual en primavera del 2019.
    • Desde que la ley entró en vigor en diciembre de 2016, casi 6,000 residentes de Colorado han accedido al Find Care Tool o Herramienta de Cuidados en Internet de Compassion & Choices, la única fuente de información para ayudar a los consumidores de cuidado médico a encontrar instalaciones médicas, sistemas y hospicios con políticas que apoyan la toma de decisiones del paciente sobre la ayuda médica para morir.
    • 118 centros de salud en 41 ciudades y pueblos* y 26 centros de hospicio en 19 ciudades y pueblos** en todo el estado, incluyendo todos los grandes sistemas seculares de salud — Kaiser, Denver Health, el sistema Universitario, HealthOne — han adoptado políticas oficiales que apoyan la toma de decisiones sobre el fin de la vida del paciente y se encuentran en internet en Find Care Tool  o Herramienta de Cuidados de Compassion & Choices: compassionandchoices.org/Find-Care.También puede encontrar un mapa de estas instalaciones en: http://bit.ly/COEndofLifeOptionsFriendlyLocations.
    • El 80% de la población del estado vive a menos de 50 millas de una instalación o servicio de hospicio que tiene políticas de apoyo que permiten a los médicos respetar las decisiones sobre el fin de vida de sus pacientes.
    • Casi 18,000 médicos, farmacéuticos y residentes de Colorado han visitado el sitio web dedicado a la Campaña de Acceso bilingüe de Compassion & Choices para conocer la ley de Colorado.
    • Desde que la ley entró en vigor, más de 1,100 médicos y profesionales de salud han recibido educación e información de la guía de recursos en internet de Compassion & Choices para proveedores médicos.

    * 118 instalaciones de salud se encuentran en las siguientes 40 ciudades: Aspen, Aurora (2 instalaciones), Basalt, Berthoud, Boulder (21 instalaciones), Broomfield, Brush (2 instalaciones), Buena Vista, Canon City (2 instalaciones), Castle Rock , Colorado City, Colorado Springs (4 instalaciones), Denver (11 instalaciones), Eagle, Eaton, Englewood (2 instalaciones), Fort Collins (5 instalaciones), Fort Morgan (2 instalaciones), Glenwood Springs, Greeley (11 instalaciones), Johnstown, La Junta, Lafayette (4 instalaciones), Lakewood, Littleton, Lone Tree (2 instalaciones), Longmont (3 instalaciones), Louisville, Loveland (10 instalaciones), Parker, Pueblo (6 instalaciones), Salida (2 instalaciones), Silt, Steamboat Springs, Sterling (5 instalaciones), Superior, Thornton, Wellington, Windsor, Winter Park, Yuma

    **26 hospicios están ubicados en las siguientes 19 ciudades: Alamosa, Aurora, Boulder, Canon City, Castle Rock, Colorado Springs (2 ubicaciones), Craig, Denver (3 ubicaciones), Fowler, La Junta, Lafayette, Lakewood, Longmont, Northglenn, Pueblo (3 ubicaciones), Steamboat Springs (2 ubicaciones), Trinidad, Walsenburg, Westminster (2 ubicaciones).

    *** Si su centro de atención médica o de cuidados de hospicio no se encuentra en nuestra herramienta “Find Care Tool” y cree que deberían estarlo, comuníquese a: [email protected]

    Además de Colorado, la ayuda médica para morir está autorizada en otras siete jurisdicciones de los EE. UU.: California, Montana, Oregón, Vermont, Washington, el Distrito de Columbia y Hawái.

  23. Las Cruces City Council Unanimously Supports Medical Aid in Dying

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    Compassion & Choices commended the Las Cruces City Council for voting unanimously to approve a bipartisan resolution in support of medical aid-in-dying legislation in New Mexico.

    The Las Cruces City Council voted to support a resolution asking New Mexico state legislators to authorize Medical Aid in Dying on Dec. 17, 2018.

    Las Cruces is the third New Mexico jurisdiction to endorse medical aid in dying in recent months, and the second to do so with unanimous vote. Local lawmakers in two of New Mexico’s most populous municipalities — Albuquerque and Las Cruces — have now both voiced unanimous support for the legislation. These resolutions, including a majority vote of support by the Santa Fe City Council, will be transmitted to New Mexico State legislators.

    Medical aid in dying is a medical practice in which a mentally capable, terminally ill adult with a prognosis of six months or fewer to live may request from their physician a prescription for a medication that they can take to peacefully die in their sleep. More than 40 years of combined experience across eight authorized jurisdictions has proven that these compassionate policies improve end-of-life care.

    “This latest unanimous vote demonstrates the overwhelming support for this legislation by lawmakers and the general public across New Mexico,” said Elizabeth Armijo, Western Regional Campaign Outreach Manager for Compassion & Choices.

    In January, state legislators will have another opportunity to authorize this compassionate end-of-life option which 80% of New Mexicans support.

    Community supporters gave compelling testimony before the Las Cruces City Council on the positive impact the future legislation would have on terminally-ill New Mexicans. Among the supporters who testified was New Mexico State Representative-elect Micaela Lara Cadena, who is co-sponsoring the 2019 bill.

    Representative-elect Cadena announced that the 2019 bill will be titled the Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act, in honor of retired 2nd Judicial District Court Judge Elizabeth Whitefield, who was a strong proponent of medical aid-in-dying policy up until her death this past August.

    “In New Mexico, we truly know that each of us has our own space to make our own moral decisions,” Rep-elect Cadena told councilors. “We can also hold room for other New Mexicans to make these type of decisions for themselves.”

    If the Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act is enacted into law, it would make New Mexico the 9th jurisdiction in the nation to authorize medical aid in dying as an end-of-life care option. Oregon, where medical aid in dying has been authorized since 1997, has been joined in the past two decades by Washington (2008), Montana (2009), Vermont (2013), California (2015), Colorado (2016), Washington, D.C. (2017) and Hawaiʻi (2018).

    Background
    In January 2014, New Mexico’s Second Judicial District Court issued a landmark decision — that terminally ill, mentally competent patients have a fundamental right to medical aid in dying under the New Mexico State Constitution. Unfortunately, the Court of Appeals reversed this ruling in August 2015 in a 2-1 split decision. Upon further appeal, in late June 2016 the New Mexico Supreme Court unanimously ruled against recognizing a constitutional right to this end-of-life option, and indicated that this matter should be considered and decided by the New Mexico Legislature.

    In the fall of 2016, the New Mexico End-of-Life Options Coalition was established to advocate for enactment of such legislation. The Coalition identified bill sponsors for both the House and Senate, drafted medical aid-in-dying legislation and mounted a full campaign during the 2017 legislative session. The bill had one successful hearing in the House and two in the Senate. Despite the monumental efforts of advocates and health professionals from across the state, the New Mexico End of Life Options Act failed to pass. Following an hour-long debate by the full Senate, SB 252 was narrowly defeated 22-20. The bill will be presented again in the upcoming 2019 legislative session.

    The Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act will be closely modeled after medical aid-in-dying legislation in Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California, Colorado, Montana and Washington D.C. The Act will provide a compassionate choice for terminally ill people who are suffering from an incurable illness or condition. The legislation will include many of the same important protections that have worked in Oregon for more than 20 years.

  24. Compassion & Choices Releases 2018 Colorado End-of-Life Options Act Report

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    Two years after the implementation of the End-of-Life Options Act, which authorizes medical aid in dying for terminally ill adults, it is clear that the law is working well at this stage of implementation.

    The law authorizes mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or fewer to live, the option to request a doctor’s prescription for medication they can choose to take to die peacefully if their end-of-life suffering becomes unbearable. The law took effect on Dec. 16, 2016 after its adoption as one of the most popular ballot measures in Colorado history with 65% voting in favor.

    Implementation is usually gradual and takes time. Based upon data compiled by Compassion & Choices, it is estimated that Colorado is right on track and will see a 25-30% increase in prescriptions written for medical aid in dying in 2018.

    In 2017, 37 doctors across the state wrote prescriptions for 69 patients for medical aid- in-dying prescriptions, and based on the 2017 data summary released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in February 2018, 50 of those patients filled their prescription, which is typical of other state data. Many qualified patients never fill their prescriptions, but go through the request process to have it on hand just in case they need it.

    Dr. Harry Calvino, a physician in Fort Collins whose wife Antje Calvino took aid-in-dying medication on August 19, 2018, said: “Five years ago, Antje was diagnosed with stage 4 appendix cancer and fought it to the end with a vengeance. She was in constant pain. Antje had excellent at-home hospice care, but when she could no longer get out of bed, she decided it was time. On August 19, with her family by her side, Antje took the medication and died the way she lived, with peace, dignity and grace.

    “The stories of people who have utilized the law make it clear why the option of medical aid in dying is important and becoming a normal part of end-of-life care discussions,” said Samantha Trad, Compassion & Choices Access Campaign Director. “The Compassion & Choices Colorado Access Campaign provides free resources and education for physicians, patients, and caregivers, and works to ensure that qualified patients, like Antje Calvino, are able to have a peaceful death. Our online Find Care Tool, for example, allows people to enter their zip code and find the nearest hospital or hospice that supports a patient’s end-of-life decisions. This past year, nearly 18,000 doctors, pharmacists and Colorado residents have visited our dedicated bilingual Colorado Access Campaign website to learn about the Colorado law.”

    Dr. Cory Carroll, a family physician in Fort Collins, has prescribed medical aid in dying to four patients who wanted the assurance that they would be able to die peacefully. Dr. Carroll stated: “To me, this is about patient autonomy, about what the patient wants. I support my patients in their end-of-life decisions, which is why I have written prescriptions for medical aid in dying for my terminally ill patients who qualify for it and have decided that it is right for them. Coloradans who are interested in this option should start having conversations now by asking their doctors whether they would write a prescription for aid-in-dying medication should they become terminally ill and want a prescription. It is crucial that every qualified, terminally ill adult has meaningful access to this care option through their own medical team.”

    Compassion & Choices 2018 Colorado End-of-Life Options Act data:

    • 2018 will see an estimated 90-100 prescriptions written for medical aid in dying based on inquiries to Compassion & Choices’ Doc2Doc service (800.247.7421 or [email protected]), its End-of-Life Consultation program and information that supporters and providers have shared. The exact number will be available when the state releases its annual report in the spring of 2019.
    • Since the law went into effect in Dec 2016, nearly 6,000 Colorado residents have accessed the Compassion & Choices online Find Care Tool, the only source of information to help healthcare consumers find medical facilities, systems and hospices with policies supportive of patient decision-making around medical aid in dying.
    • 118 healthcare facilities in 41 cities and towns* and 26 hospice locations in 19 cities and towns** statewide, including all of the large secular healthcare systems — Kaiser, Denver Health, the University system, HealthOne — have adopted official policies supportive of patient end-of-life decision making and are on Compassion & Choices online Find Care Tool: compassionandchoices.org/Find-Care.There also is a map of these facilities available at: http://bit.ly/COEndofLifeOptionsFriendlyLocations.
    • 80% of the state’s population lives within 50 miles of a facility or hospice service that has supportive policies allowing physicians to honor their patient’s end-of-life decisions.
    • Nearly 18,000 doctors, pharmacists and Colorado residents have visited the Compassion & Choices dedicated bilingual Access Campaign website to learn about the Colorado law.
    • Since the law went into effect more than 1,100 doctors and healthcare professionals have received education and information from the Compassion & Choices online resource guide for medical providers.

    *118 healthcare facilities are located in the following 40 cities: Aspen, Aurora (2 facilities), Basalt, Berthoud, Boulder (21 facilities), Broomfield, Brush (2 facilities), Buena Vista, Canon City (2 facilities), Castle Rock, Colorado City, Colorado Springs (4 facilities), Denver (11 facilities), Eagle, Eaton, Englewood (2 facilities), Fort Collins (5 facilities), Fort Morgan (2 facilities), Glenwood Springs, Greeley (11 facilities), Johnstown, La Junta, Lafayette (4 facilities), Lakewood, Littleton, Lone Tree (2 facilities), Longmont (3 facilities), Louisville, Loveland (10 facilities), Parker, Pueblo (6 facilities), Salida (2 facilities), Silt, Steamboat Springs, Sterling (5 facilities), Superior, Thornton, Wellington, Windsor, Winter Park, Yuma

    **26 hospices are located in the following 19 cities: Alamosa, Aurora, Boulder, Canon City, Castle Rock, Colorado Springs (2 locations), Craig, Denver (3 locations), Fowler, La Junta, Lafayette, Lakewood, Longmont, Northglenn, Pueblo (3 locations), Steamboat Springs (2 locations), Trinidad, Walsenburg, Westminster (2 locations).

    ***If your healthcare or hospice facility is not on our Find Care Tool and you think they should be, please contact: [email protected]

    In addition to Colorado, medical aid in dying is authorized in seven other U.S. jurisdictions: California, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia and Hawaiʻi .

  25. Compassion & Choices Publica Reporte de Ley de Opciones de Fin de Vida de Colorado del 2018

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    Dos años después de la implementación del  End-of-Life Options Act o Ley de Opciones de Fin de Vida, que autoriza la ayuda médica para morir para adultos con enfermedades terminales, está claro que la ley está funcionando bien en su etapa de implementación.

    La ley autoriza a los adultos mentalmente capaces y con enfermedades terminales que cuentan con seis meses o menos de vida, la opción de solicitar un medicamento que pueden tomar para morir en paz cuando su sufrimiento al final de la vida se vuelve insoportable. La ley entró en vigor el 16 de diciembre de 2016 después de su adopción como una de las medidas electorales más populares en la historia de Colorado con un 65% de votos a favor.

    La implementación suele ser gradual y lleva tiempo. Según los datos compilados por Compassion & Choices, se calcula que Colorado va por buen camino y en 2018, verá un aumento del 25-30% de recetas prescritas para la ayuda médica para morir.

    En 2017, 37 médicos en todo el estado recetaron a 69 pacientes un medicamento de ayuda médica para morir y según el resumen de datos de 2017 publicado por el Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment  o Departamento de Salud Pública y Medio Ambiente de Colorado, en febrero de 2018, 50 de esos pacientes llenaron su receta, lo cual es típico de otros datos estatales. Muchos pacientes calificados nunca surten sus recetas, pero pasan por el proceso de solicitud para tenerla a la mano en caso de que la necesiten.

    El Dr. Harry Calvino, médico de Fort Collins cuya esposa, Antje Calvino, tomó los medicamentos de ayuda para morir el 19 de agosto de 2018, dijo: “Hace cinco años, a Antje se le diagnosticó un cáncer en el apéndice de etapa 4 y luchó valientemente hasta el final. Ella tenía un dolor constante. Antje tenía excelentes cuidados de hospicio en casa, pero cuando ya no podía levantarse de la cama, decidió que era hora. El 19 de agosto, con su familia a su lado, Antje tomó los medicamentos y murió como ella vivió, en paz, con dignidad y gracia “.

    “Las historias de personas que han utilizado la ley, dejan claro por qué la opción de ayuda médica para morir es importante y se está convirtiendo en una parte normal de las pláticas sobre el fin de la vida”, dijo Samantha Trad, Directora de Campaña de Acceso de Compassion & Choices. “La Campaña de Acceso de Compassion & Choices en Colorado brinda educación y recursos gratuitos para médicos, pacientes y proveedores de cuidado de salud, y trabaja para garantizar que los pacientes calificados, como Antje Calvino, puedan tener una muerte pacífica. Nuestra herramienta Find Care Tool o Herramienta de Cuidados  en internet, por ejemplo, permite a las personas ingresar su código postal y encontrar el hospital u hospicio más cercano que apoye las decisiones sobre el fin de vida de un paciente. El año pasado, casi 18 mil médicos, farmacéuticos y residentes de Colorado visitaron nuestro sitio web bilingüe dedicado a la Campaña de Acceso en Colorado para aprender sobre la ley de ese estado “.

    El Dr. Cory Carroll, médico familiar de Fort Collins, ha prescrito la ayuda médica para morir a cuatro pacientes que querían tener la seguridad de que podrían morir en paz. El Dr. Carroll declaró: “Para mí, esto tiene que ver con la autonomía del paciente, sobre lo que el paciente desea. Apoyo a mis pacientes en sus decisiones sobre el final de la vida, por lo que he recetado medicamentos de ayuda médica para morir a mis pacientes con una enfermedad terminal, que califican y que han decidido que es lo correcto para ellos. Los residentes de Colorado que estén interesados ​​en esta opción deben empezar a consultar con su médico, si les pudiera recetar un medicamento de ayuda para morir en caso de tener una enfermedad terminal. Es crucial que cada adulto con una enfermedad terminal que califique tenga acceso significativo a esta opción de cuidado a través de su propio equipo médico”.

    Datos de Compassion & Choices 2018 Colorado End-of-Life Options Act:

    • En 2018 se verá un estimado de 90-100 recetas de ayuda médica para morir en base a consultas al servicio Doc2Doc de Compassion & Choices (800.247.7421 o [email protected]), su programa de consulta de fin de vida e información que los partidarios y los proveedores han compartido. El número exacto estará disponible cuando el estado publique su informe anual en primavera del 2019.
    • Desde que la ley entró en vigor en diciembre de 2016, casi 6,000 residentes de Colorado han accedido al Find Care Tool o Herramienta de Cuidados en Internet de Compassion & Choices, la única fuente de información para ayudar a los consumidores de cuidado médico a encontrar instalaciones médicas, sistemas y hospicios con políticas que apoyan la toma de decisiones del paciente sobre la ayuda médica para morir.
    • 118 centros de salud en 41 ciudades y pueblos* y 26 centros de hospicio en 19 ciudades y pueblos** en todo el estado, incluyendo todos los grandes sistemas seculares de salud — Kaiser, Denver Health, el sistema Universitario, HealthOne — han adoptado políticas oficiales que apoyan la toma de decisiones sobre el fin de la vida del paciente y se encuentran en internet en Find Care Tool  o Herramienta de Cuidados de Compassion & Choices: compassionandchoices.org/Find-Care.También puede encontrar un mapa de estas instalaciones en: http://bit.ly/COEndofLifeOptionsFriendlyLocations.
    • El 80% de la población del estado vive a menos de 50 millas de una instalación o servicio de hospicio que tiene políticas de apoyo que permiten a los médicos respetar las decisiones sobre el fin de vida de sus pacientes.
    • Casi 18,000 médicos, farmacéuticos y residentes de Colorado han visitado el sitio web dedicado a la Campaña de Acceso bilingüe de Compassion & Choices para conocer la ley de Colorado.
    • Desde que la ley entró en vigor, más de 1,100 médicos y profesionales de salud han recibido educación e información de la guía de recursos en internet de Compassion & Choices para proveedores médicos.

    * 118 instalaciones de salud se encuentran en las siguientes 40 ciudades: Aspen, Aurora (2 instalaciones), Basalt, Berthoud, Boulder (21 instalaciones), Broomfield, Brush (2 instalaciones), Buena Vista, Canon City (2 instalaciones), Castle Rock , Colorado City, Colorado Springs (4 instalaciones), Denver (11 instalaciones), Eagle, Eaton, Englewood (2 instalaciones), Fort Collins (5 instalaciones), Fort Morgan (2 instalaciones), Glenwood Springs, Greeley (11 instalaciones), Johnstown, La Junta, Lafayette (4 instalaciones), Lakewood, Littleton, Lone Tree (2 instalaciones), Longmont (3 instalaciones), Louisville, Loveland (10 instalaciones), Parker, Pueblo (6 instalaciones), Salida (2 instalaciones), Silt, Steamboat Springs, Sterling (5 instalaciones), Superior, Thornton, Wellington, Windsor, Winter Park, Yuma

    **26 hospicios están ubicados en las siguientes 19 ciudades: Alamosa, Aurora, Boulder, Canon City, Castle Rock, Colorado Springs (2 ubicaciones), Craig, Denver (3 ubicaciones), Fowler, La Junta, Lafayette, Lakewood, Longmont, Northglenn, Pueblo (3 ubicaciones), Steamboat Springs (2 ubicaciones), Trinidad, Walsenburg, Westminster (2 ubicaciones).

    *** Si su centro de atención médica o de cuidados de hospicio no se encuentra en nuestra herramienta “Find Care Tool” y cree que deberían estarlo, comuníquese a: [email protected]

    Además de Colorado, la ayuda médica para morir está autorizada en otras siete jurisdicciones de los EE. UU.: California, Montana, Oregón, Vermont, Washington, el Distrito de Columbia y Hawái .

  26. Corte de Apelaciones de California ordena al Tribunal de Primera Instancia Anular la Decisión de Suspender Temporalmente la Ley Opción de Fin de Vida

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    Kevin Díaz, chief legal advocacy officer for Compassion & Choices, and outside counsel John Kappos speaking to journalists after court hearing in 2017.

    El martes a última hora, un tribunal de apelaciones de California ordenó a un tribunal superior anular su sentencia presentada en mayo, la cual suspendió la ley estatal de ayuda médica para morir antes que el tribunal de apelaciones revocó en Junio, restableciendo la ley.  El Circuito de Apelaciones del 4to Distrito, dictaminó que los demandantes médicos no establecieron una posición legal cuando presentaron su demanda en el 2016 para anular la Ley de Opción de Fin de Vida, porque la legislación no los afecta a ellos ni a sus pacientes, ya que ambos son libres de aceptar o rechazar de participar en la ley.

    En una decisión mayoritaria de 2-1, la corte de apelaciones en el caso Ahn v. Hestrin declaró:

    “… concluimos que las partidos de Ahn carecen de posición para cualquiera de las teorías que han afirmado en esta apelación. No tenemos forma de saber si, en la devolución (enviando el caso de vuelta al tribunal superior), podrán enmendar su queja para alegar la legitimación, si el tribunal  les otorgará permiso para hacerlo o si serán capaz de comprobar sus acusaciones enmendadas “(vea el primer párrafo completo en la página 27).

    El fallo del tribunal de apelaciones se realizó el 8 de octubre después de una audiencia, donde se presentaron los argumentos orales por parte de los demandantes, de la oficina del procurador general estatal y de los abogados que trabajan con Compassion & Choices quienes representan a dos adultos con enfermedades terminales y un médico.

    “La buena noticia es que la ley permanece intacta hasta ahora y en un futuro previsible, por lo cual, los médicos pueden recetar a los californianos con enfermedades terminales quienes necesitan la opción de ayuda médica para morir”, dijo Kevin Díaz, director nacional de defensa legal de Compassion & Choices, cuya organización hermana, la Red de Acción de Compassion & Choices, lideró la campaña para aprobar la Ley de Opción de Fin de Vida. “Pero sabemos por experiencia en estos últimos 2 años y medio de este caso que nuestros oponentes seguirán todas las tácticas legales posibles para anular la ley. Lucharemos contra ellos en todo momento para protegerla”.

    “Este fallo del tribunal de apelaciones es un importante precedente legal que refuerza nuestras posibilidades de defender con éxito la ley”, dijo John Kappos, socio del bufete de abogados O’Melveny representante de Compassion & Choices, y quien presentó un argumento oral ante el tribunal de apelaciones. “Pero la dura realidad es que este caso durará varios años más porque los demandantes están empeñados en privar a los californianos de su derecho constitucional a las opciones de cuidados de fin de vida que aseguran a los californianos con enfermedades terminales tener acceso a una muerte pacífica y sin sufrimiento”.

    “Los demandantes deben demostrar una posición legal o no podrán continuar con el caso”, dijo Jon B. Eisenberg, abogado de Healdsburg (Condado de Sonoma), experto en leyes de apelación que trabaja con el equipo legal de Compassion & Choices. “Pero el tribunal de apelaciones le proporcionó a los demandantes una guía del proceso para hacerlo, lo que probablemente intentarán hacer una vez que el caso se envíe de vuelta al tribunal superior. Y también es posible que la Corte Suprema de California tome el caso en su lugar y se pronuncie directamente sobre la constitucionalidad de la Ley de Opción de Fin de Vida “.

    El 18 de julio, la corte de apelaciones otorgó a dos adultos con enfermedades terminales y un médico representado por Compassion & Choices una moción de emergencia para una suspensión automática y anular de inmediato la sentencia de un tribunal inferior el 30 de mayo de 2018, invalidando la Ley de Opción de Final de Vida. El fallo de la corte de apelaciones que restablece la ley fue retroactivo al 1 de junio de 2018, cuando Compassion & Choices presentó una notificación de apelación.

    La corte de apelaciones también otorgó el 16 de junio de 2018 mociones para una “estancia discrecional” de la decisión del tribunal inferior presentada por Compassion & Choices ‘y el Procurador General Xavier Becerra. Esos fallos aseguraron al público que la ley volvió a estar vigente antes del fallo del 18 de julio.

    En julio, el Departamento de Salud Pública de California publicó un informe el cual mostraba que durante un período de casi siete meses, desde el 9 de junio de 2016 hasta el 31 de diciembre de 2016, 191 californianos con enfermedades terminales recibieron recetas de ayuda para morir por parte de 173 médicos; 111 de esos individuos (58%) decidieron auto-ingerir el medicamento.

    Las encuestas muestran que el 76 por ciento de los californianos en todo el espectro político y demográfico apoyan la ayuda médica para morir. Este apoyo mayoritario incluye el 82 por ciento de los demócratas, el 79 por ciento de los independientes, el 67 por ciento de los republicanos, el 75 por ciento de los blancos, los latinos y los asiáticos y el 52 por ciento de los afroamericanos.

    California es uno de los siete estados, incluyendo Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, Washington y Hawai’i, así como el Distrito de Columbia, que ha autorizado la asistencia médica para morir. En conjunto, estas ocho jurisdicciones representan a casi uno de cada cinco estadounidenses (19%) y tienen 40 años de experiencia combinada empleando esta opción de cuidado al final de la vida.

  27. Calif. Appeals Court Directs Lower Court to Nullify Ruling that Temporarily Suspended End of Life Option Act in May

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    A California appeals court late Tuesday directed a superior trial court to nullify its judgment in late May that suspended the state’s medical aid-in-dying law before the appeals court granted a stay in June reinstating the law. The Court of Appeal, 4th Appellate District (“appeals court”), ruled the physician plaintiffs didn’t establish legal standing when they filed their lawsuit in 2016 to overturn the End of Life Option Act because the law doesn’t affect them or their patients since they both are free to opt out of participating in the law.  

    In a majority 2-1 ruling, the appeals court in Ahn v. Hestrin, stated:

    “…we conclude that the Ahn parties lack standing for any of the theories they have asserted in this appeal. We have no way of knowing whether, on remand [sending the case back to superior court], they will be able to amend their complaint so as to allege standing, whether the trial court will grant them leave to do so, or whether they will be able to prove up their amended allegations.” (see first full paragraph on page 27).

    The appeals court ruling followed a hearing on Oct. 8, featuring oral arguments by the plaintiffs, the state attorney general’s office, and attorneys working with Compassion & Choices representing two terminally ill adults and a physician.

    “The good news is that the law remains intact for the foreseeable future, so doctors can write prescriptions for terminally ill Californians who need the option of medical aid in dying,” said Kevin Díaz, chief legal advocacy officer for Compassion & Choices, whose sister organization, Compassion & Choices Action Network, led the campaign to pass the End of Life Option Act. “But we know from experience over the last 2-½ years in this case that our opponents will pursue every possible legal tactic to overturn the law. We will fight them at every turn to protect it.” 

    Kevin Díaz, chief legal advocacy officer for Compassion & Choices, and outside counsel John Kappos speaking to journalists after court hearing in 2017.

    “This appeals court ruling is an important legal precedent that strengthens our chances of successfully defending the law,” said John Kappos, a partner in the O’Melveny law firm working with Compassion & Choices, and who presented oral argument to the appeals court. “But the harsh reality is this case is likely to last several more years because the plaintiffs are hell-bent on depriving Californians of their constitutional right to end-of-life care options that ensure terminally ill Californians have access to a peaceful death, free of unbearable suffering.”

    “The plaintiffs must show legal standing or they will not be able to continue the case,” said Jon B. Eisenberg, of Healdsburg (Sonoma County), an expert in appellate law working with the Compassion & Choices legal team.  “But the appeals court provided the plaintiffs with a roadmap for doing so, which they will likely attempt to do once the case is sent back to the superior court.  And it is also possible that the California Supreme Court will take the case instead and rule directly on the constitutionality of the End of Life Option Act.”

    On July 18, the appeals court granted an emergency motion by the two terminally ill adults and a physician represented by Compassion & Choices for an automatic stay to immediately suspend a lower court’s judgment on May 30, 2018, invalidating the End of Life Option Act. The appeals court ruling reinstating the law was retroactive to June 1, 2018, when Compassion & Choices filed a notice of appeal.  

    The appeals court also granted on June 16, 2018, motions for a “discretionary stay” of the lower court ruling filed by Compassion & Choices’ and Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Those rulings reassured the public that the law was back in effect before the ruling of July 18.

    In July, the California Department of Public Health released a report showing 191 terminally ill Californians received prescriptions from 173 doctors for aid-in-dying medication during the nearly seven month period from June 9, 2016, until Dec. 31, 2016; 111 of those individuals (58%) decided to self-ingest the medication.

    Polling shows 76 percent of Californians across the political and demographic spectrum support medical aid in dying. This majority support includes 82 percent of Democrats, 79 percent of independents, 67 percent of Republicans, 75 percent of whites, Latinos and Asian Americans, and 52 percent of African Americans.

    California is one of seven states — including Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Hawai‘i — as well as the District of Columbia, that have authorized medical aid in dying. Collectively, these eight jurisdictions represent nearly one out of five Americans (19%) and have 40 years of combined experience safely using this end-of-life care option.

  28. Compassion & Choices Praises African American, Latino Leadership Councils for Advancing End-of-Life Healthcare Education

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    The African American Leadership Council

    Compassion & Choices today praised its African American and Latino Leadership Councils on their one-year anniversary for securing endorsements of medical aid-in-dying legislation and for advancing end-of-life healthcare education across the country. These options include advance care planning, hospice, palliative care, and medical aid in dying.

    Compassion & Choices created the Councils to improve end-of life care outreach to communities of color. Members were recruited to advance the organization’s strategic goal to empower all Americans nationwide about their healthcare options at life’s end.

    “These multicultural community leaders, executives and physicians have served as our partners in educating communities of color about end of life care and choice,said Compassion & Choices Chief Executive Officer Kim Callinan. “Their authoritative voices have helped to ensure that communities of color have access to the full range of end-of-life care options in the United States.”

    Since the joint launch in November 2017, the Council members have been instrumental in helping Compassion & Choices defeat attempts to repeal the Death with Dignity Act in the District of Columbia, and legislative initiatives to weaken medical aid-in-dying laws in California and Colorado.

    Medical aid-in-dying laws allow terminally ill adults to request a doctor’s prescription for medication they can voluntarily decide to self-ingest to die peacefully in their sleep if their suffering becomes unbearable. Reports show these laws spur conversations between terminally ill adults, their doctors and their loved ones about all end-of-life care options, including hospice and palliative care, and better utilization of these options.

    Council members have engaged in national outreach through community engagement with National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Urban League (NUL), National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and National Black Nurses Association (NBNA). Council members also secured endorsements for medical aid in dying from the National Hispanic Council on Aging, Latino Commission on AIDS, Hispanic Health Network and Latinos for Healthcare Equity in New York, a state with 18 percent of Hispanics.

    Both national and state polls show strong support for medical aid in dying across the ethnic, political and religious spectrum, including 69 percent of Latinos nationwide and 53 percent of African Americans.

    The African American Leadership Council includes:

    • Lucille Ridgill, MD, Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Care, California
    • Rev. Madison Shockley, United Church of Christ, California
    • Jason Gaulden, communications director, America Succeeds, Colorado
    • Shawn Perry, host, The Senior Zone radio show, Maryland
    • Delores Lewis, senior advisor to the City Council, New Jersey
    • Channte’ Keith, director of programs, National African-American Tobacco Prevention Network (NAATPN) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, North Carolina
    • Omega Silva, MD, Endocrinology and Internal Medicine, Washington, D.C.
    • Sultan Shakir, executive director, Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders (SMYAL), Washington, D.C.
    • Shirley Tabb, licensed social worker, Washington, D.C.
    • Christy Davis Jackson, attorney, New Jersey
    • Al Thomas, co-founder South Jersey Journal, New Jersey
    • Khadine Bennett, Director of Advocacy and Intergovernmental Affairs, ACLU of Illinois, Illinois
    • Rev. Dr. Paul Smith, Civil Rights Veteran, Minister, Educator, Author, Diversity Role Model, Maryland
    • Rev. Charles McNeill, Pastor Unity Baptist Church; President, National Capital Baptist Convention, Washington, D.C.

    The Latino Leadership Council includes:

    • Dan Diaz, husband of late medical aid-in-dying advocate Brittany  Maynard, California
    • Dr. Daniel Turner-Lloveras, physician, California
    • Dolores Huerta, civil rights leader, California
    • Dr. Jaime R. Torres, President, Latinos for Healthcare Equity, New York
    • Father Luis Barrios, Episcopal priest, Grace Church, New York
    • Guillermo Chacon, president, Latino Commission on AIDS; founder, Hispanic Health Network, New York
    • Irisaida “Isa” Mendez, communications professional, Florida
    • Jorge Lambrinos, founding director, Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging, University of Southern California (USC), California
    • Mauricio Ochmann, actor, California
    • María D. Otero, Founder/Director, Nuestra Salud, New Mexico
    • María Lemus, Executive Director, Visión y Compromiso, California
    • Nilsa Centeno, mother of late medical aid-in-dying advocate Miguel Carrasquillo, Puerto Rico
    • Pastor Sergio Camacho, Latino Ministry, United Methodist Church, California
    • Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, State Representative, Utah
    • Rev. Dr. Ignacio Castuera, Ph. D., United Methodist Church, California
    • Dr. Yanira Cruz, CEO & President, National Hispanic Council on Aging, Washington, D.C.

    The leadership councils are led by National Constituency Director Brandi Alexander and National Latino Communications and Constituency Director Patricia A. González-Portillo.   

    “Our African American Leadership Council has engaged in valuable outreach to the community and stressed the importance of having  informed healthcare conversations,” said Alexander.”There is a real need for advancing end-of-life care options for African Americans throughout the United States.”

    “More Latinos throughout the country are coming forward to support medical aid in dying, thanks to our Latino council members,” said González-Portillo. “This powerful group of leaders is helping to guide new work to reach and engage more Hispanics in the United States, its territories and various islands. Their mission is to ensure our terminally ill Latino brothers and sisters can have the end-of-life care options they desire, including the option to die peacefully without unbearable suffering.”

    For a complete list of members and additional information, please visit,  https://compassionandchoices.org/take-action/community-outreach/communities-color-choices/  

  29. Compassion & Choices Elogia Consejos de Líderes Latinos, Afroamericanos Por Avanzar Educación de Cuidados de Salud de Fin de Vida

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    The Latino Leadership Council

    Compassion & Choices elogió hoy a sus Consejos de Liderazgo Latino y Afroamericano en su primer aniversario por haber obtenido el respaldo de leyes de ayuda médica y por promover la educación de cuidados de salud al final de la vida en todo el país. Estas opciones incluyen la planificación de cuidados, los cuidados paliativos y la ayuda médica para morir.

    Compassion & Choices creó los Consejos para mejorar la difusión del cuidado de fin de vida en comunidades de color. Los integrantes fueron reclutados para promover el objetivo estratégico de la organización el cual es, capacitar a todos los estadounidenses sobre sus opciones de cuidados médicos al final de la vida.

    “Estos líderes comunitarios multiculturales, ejecutivos y médicos han servido como nuestros socios para educar a las comunidades de color sobre el cuidado y la elección al final de la vida”, dijo la Directora Ejecutiva de Compassion & Choices, Kim Callinan. “Sus voces expertas han ayudado a garantizar que las comunidades de color tengan acceso a una gama completa de opciones de cuidados de fin de vida en los Estados Unidos”.

    Desde el lanzamiento en noviembre del 2017, los miembros del Consejo han sido fundamentales para ayudar a Compassion & Choices a derrotar los intentos de derogar el acta de Muerte con Dignidad en el Distrito de Columbia, y las iniciativas legislativas para debilitar las leyes de ayuda médica para morir en California y Colorado.

    Las leyes de ayuda médica para morir permiten que los adultos con enfermedades terminales soliciten una receta médica que puedan ingerir voluntariamente y así poder morir pacíficamente mientras duermen cuando el sufrimiento se vuelve insoportable. Los informes muestran que estas leyes estimulan las conversaciones entre los adultos con enfermedades terminales, sus médicos y sus seres queridos sobre todas las opciones de atención al final de la vida, incluyendo los cuidados paliativos y un mejor uso de estas opciones.

    Los miembros del Consejo se han involucrado en actividades de divulgación nacional a través de la participación comunitaria con el National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Urban League (NUL), National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) y el National Black Nurses Association (NBNA). Los miembros del Consejo también obtuvieron el apoyo del Consejo Nacional Hispano Para el Adulto Mayor, la Comisión Latina sobre el SIDA,  Red Hispana de Salud y Latinos for Healthcare Equity en Nueva York, un estado con un 18 por ciento de hispanos.

    Tanto las encuestas nacionales como las estatales muestran un fuerte apoyo a la ayuda médica para morir en todo el espectro étnico, político y religioso, incluyendo el 69 por ciento de los latinos en todo el país y el 53 por ciento de los afroamericanos.

    El Consejo de Liderazgo Latino incluye:

    • Dan Díaz, esposo de Brittany Maynard, finada defensora de ayuda médica para morir, California
    • Dr. Daniel Turner-Lloveras, médico, California
    • Dolores Huerta, líder de derechos civiles, California
    • Dr. Jaime R. Torres, Presidente, Latinos for Healthcare Equity, Nueva York
    • Padre Luis Barrios, sacerdote episcopal, Grace Church, Nueva York
    • Guillermo Chacón, presidente de la Comisión Latina sobre el SIDA; fundador, Red Hispana de Salud, Nueva York
    • Irisaida “Isa” Mendez, profesional de comunicaciones, Florida
    • Jorge Lambrinos, director fundador del Instituto de Envejecimiento Edward R. Roybal, Universidad del Sur de California (USC), California
    • Mauricio Ochmann, actor, California
    • María D. Otero, Fundadora / Directora, Nuestra Salud, Nuevo México
    • María Lemus, directora ejecutiva, Visión y Compromiso, California
    • Nilsa Centeno, madre del finado defensor de ayuda médica para morir Miguel Carrasquillo, Puerto Rico
    • Pastor Sergio Camacho, ministerio Latino, Iglesia Metodista Unida, California
    • Representante Rebecca Chavez-Houck, legisladora estatal, Utah
    • Reverendo Dr. Ignacio Castuera, Ph. D., Iglesia Metodista Unida, California
    • Dra. Yanira Cruz, directora ejecutiva y presidenta del Consejo Nacional Hispano Para el Adulto Mayor, Washington, D.C.

    El Consejo de Liderazgo Afroamericano incluye:

    • Lucille Ridgill, MD, médico, medicina interna y cuidados paliativos, California
    • Reverendo Madison Shockley, Iglesia de Cristo Unida, California
    • Jason Gaulden, director de comunicaciones, America Succeeds, Colorado
    • Shawn Perry, presentador, programa de radio The Senior Zone, Maryland     
    • Delores Lewis, asesora principal del Consejo Municipal, Nueva Jersey
    • Channte ’Keith, directora de programas, National African-American Tobacco Prevention Network (NAATPN) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (NAATPN), Carolina del Norte
    • Omega Silva, MD, médico, endocrinología y medicina interna, Washington, D.C.
    • Sultan Shakir, director ejecutivo, Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders (SMYAL), Washington, D.C.
    • Shirley Tabb, trabajadora social, Washington, D.C.
    • Christy Davis Jackson, abogada, New Jersey
    • Al Thomas, co fundador, South Jersey Journal,New Jersey
    • Khadine Bennett, directora de abogacía y Asuntos Intergubernamentales, ACLU, Illinois
    • Rev. Dr. Paul Smith, veterano de derechos civiles, ministro, educador, autor, Diversity Role Model, Maryland
    • Reverendo Charles McNeill, pastor, Unity Baptist Church; presidente, National Capital Baptist Convention, Washington, D.C.

    Los consejos de liderazgo están dirigidos por la Directora Nacional de Comunicaciones Latinas, Patricia A. González-Portillo y por la Directora del Circunscripción Nacional, Brandi Alexander.

    “Más latinos en todo el país están dando la cara para apoyar la ayuda médica para morir, gracias a los miembros de nuestro consejo latino,” dijo González-Portillo. “Este poderoso grupo de líderes está ayudando a guiar nuevos esfuerzos para alcanzar e involucrar a más hispanos en los Estados Unidos, sus territorios y en varias islas. Su misión es garantizar que nuestros hermanos latinos con enfermedades terminales puedan tener las opciones de cuidados de fin de vida que deseen, incluyendo la opción de morir en paz sin un sufrimiento insoportable”.

    “Nuestro Consejo de Liderazgo Afroamericano se ha involucrado en un valioso acercamiento a la comunidad y ha destacado la importancia de tener conversaciones e información sobre el cuidado de la salud”, dijo Alexander. “Existe una gran necesidad de promover las opciones de atención al final de la vida para los afroamericanos en los Estados Unidos”.

    Para obtener una lista completa de los miembros e información adicional, visite https://compassionandchoices.org/take-action/community-outreach/communities-color-choices/

  30. End-of-Life Care Group Praises Report by NJ Gov. Advisory Council on End-of-Life Care

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    Compassion & Choices today praised a new report by the New Jersey Governor’s Advisory Council on End-of-Life Care, noting that the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act (A1504/S1072) would help achieve the council’s recommendations to improve end-of-life care for state residents.

    A growing consensus is emerging across the nation about the

    Compassion & Choices NJ Campaign Director Corinne Carey with C&C volunteer advocate at lobby-rally day at state capitol in Trenton on Oct. 29, 2018.

    importance of expert end-of-life care, especially as it relates to honoring individual wishes and preferences in the context of an advanced or terminal illness,” notes the council’s report (see “Executive Summary” on page 1). “New Jersey can benefit from laws and policies that contain provisions aimed at improving advance care planning, palliative care, hospice care and end-of-life care,” the report concludes (see “Recommendation 2; Background” on page 18).

    “We know New Jersey’s Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act will both honor individuals’ wishes for end-of-life care and improve it because that is what has happened in every state that has passed a similar law,” said Corinne Carey, New Jersey campaign director for Compassion & Choices. “In fact, this legislation requires doctors to advise any terminally ill adult who requests medical aid in dying about all end-of-life care options, including hospice and palliative care. The council’s report is the capstone for legislative leaders to bring this bill to the floor on the last scheduled voting day of the year, Dec. 17, because we are confident they have the votes to pass it.”

    Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, the model for New Jersey’s Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, has helped spur the state to lead the nation in hospice enrollment, according to the report published in the New England Journal of Medicine. More than 90 percent of terminally ill adults who have utilized the Oregon law since it took effect 20 years ago were enrolled in hospice, according to Oregon Health Authority data.

    The council’s report noted one barrier to improving access to and utilization of palliative care is: “…many practitioners struggle with advance care planning and end-of-life care discussions, and shy away from delivering bad news or having honest conversations with patients near the end-of-life” (see “Barrier 2: Lack of Communication and Conversations” on page 12).

    Medical aid-in-dying laws similar to the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act help solve this problem by spurring discussions between doctors and patients about all of end-of-life care options, including hospice and palliative care, as the Los Angeles Times noted last year.

    In addition California and Oregon, medical aid in dying is authorized in Colorado, the District of Columbia, Montana, Vermont, Washington, and starting on Jan. 1, in Hawai’i. Collectively, these eight jurisdictions represent nearly 1 out of 5 Americans (19%) and have 40 years of combined experience safely using this end-of-life care option.

    A 2-1 majority (63% vs. 29%) of New Jersey voters, including most Protestants (73%), Catholics (64%) and other non-Protestant residents (59%), support medical aid in dying, according to the most recent state poll on the issue by Rutgers-Eagleton. Major newspapers statewide have endorsed the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act.


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