by Lara Yamada
November 12, 2012
“In the end of February, it was discovered I had kidney cancer,” said hospice care worker Dorothy Haden, who has stage four cancer.
“I tried to live my life with dignity, and I do want to end my life with dignity,” said former lawmaker Earnest Juggie Heen, who has liver and pancreatic cancer.
Both said they want to choose how and when they end their lives.
“It’s our position that aid in dying is legal and it can be incorporated into medical practice legitimately here in Hawaii,” said Barbara Coombs Lee, who is the president of Compassion & Choices, a national nonprofit organization that supports aid in dying. She returned to Hawaii in early November, one year after a small group of Hawaii doctors first prescribed life-ending medication to a terminally ill patient.
“Hawaii has a constellation of laws that have never really criminalized aid in dying,” she said.
She said in the past year, 31 people have inquired about aid in dying, seven qualified to receive medication, and four were actually prescribed it, but she said all four died of natural causes before taking that prescription.
“People just want the comfort. They just want peace of mind,” she told KITV4 reporter Lara Yamada. More