Below are the 17 steps it takes to access a prescription for medical aid in dying in the Aloha State:
- Terminally ill, mentally capable adult resident of Hawai’i with 6 months or less to live, “the patient,” makes an appointment with their doctor, the “Prescribing Physician” (referred to in the Our Care Our Choice Act as the “Attending Physician”).
- Patient makes their first oral request for medical aid in dying to the prescribing physician, the first of two doctors who must evaluate them for medical aid-in-dying eligibility.
- Prescribing physician evaluates the patient to determine their eligibility for medical aid in dying, namely, that the patient:
- Has a terminal diagnosis with a prognosis of six months or less to live;
- Is capable of making their own healthcare decisions (this is the first of three medical professionals who must evaluate this capacity);
- Is making a voluntary request; and
- Is making an informed decision, which includes notification of all feasible alternatives or additional treatment opportunities, including hospice, palliative care, and comfort care.
- Patient must wait at least 20 days before making their second oral request to their prescribing physician.
- A relative of the qualified patient by blood, marriage, or adoption;
- A person who is entitled to any portion of the patient’s estate;
- An owner, operator, or employee of a healthcare facility where the patient is receiving medical treatment or is a resident; or
- The patient’s prescribing physician.
*After a prescription is obtained, the patient is required to sign a final attestation form 48 hours or less before they take the medication.
**If a doctor decides not to support an eligible patient under the Our Care, Our Choice Act, they should document the first oral request and transfer it upon request. We also encourage doctors to refer patients to doctors who will support them, so they are not abandoned.