Patient Distressed by Overturn of California End of Life Option Act

TUESDAY, Sept. 4, 2018 — The decision to overturn the End of Life Option Act has added stress and anxiety to terminally ill patients, including those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to a patient testimonial published online Sept. 4 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Michael M. Danielson, a patient with ALS from San Diego, writes about the overturning of California’s End of Life Option Act, which provided terminal patients with the option of ending their life.

Danielson describes his perception that overturning the law shows a lack of compassion for terminally ill patients, asserting that in contrast to the “do no harm” of the Hippocratic oath, doctors are actually doing more harm by keeping terminally ill patients alive, rather than allowing them to take control and have a dignified passing of their choice. While losing control of his body to ALS, the patient noted that removing the control over his death has caused him to feel great anxiety. The law provided protection for terminally ill patients, allowing the terminal illness to be recorded on the death certificate, and ensuring death would be fast, effective, and peaceful.

“No one welcomes death; however, when it becomes inevitable, assisted death should be seen as a human right,” Danielson writes. “I am literally dying for my last rights.”

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Posted: September 2018

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