Though California is far more diverse than OR, the majority of those who have died under aid-in-dying laws in both states were white, college-educated cancer patients older than 60.
A total of 111 people took life-ending pills over the last seven months of 2016 under California right-to-die law. Between then and December 31 of past year, "191 individuals received aid-in-dying drugs under the EOLA, and 111 people died following ingestion of the prescribed drugs", writes the California Department of Public Health. The report found that 21 people died of underlying causes, while outcomes were undetermined for 59 individuals who received prescriptions. The statistics also revealed that 102 out of the 111 who died were white, with Asians making up six of the total and blacks and Hispanics at three each, according to the Bee.
Of those 111 individuals, 87.4 percent were 60 years old or older, 96.4 percent had health insurance and 83.8 percent were receiving hospice and/or palliative care. Fifty-nine percent of those who died were suffering from cancer. The patient must verbally ask for the lethal prescription to a doctor twice and with at least 15 days between each request.
While California is significantly more diverse than OR, the California Dept. of Health report almost mirrors what has been occurring in Oregon. Most were older than 65 and had cancer.
Some see providing the choice to the dying as a logical evolution in a medical care system advanced in helping people live longer but limited in preventing slow, painful deaths. Our role as an independent, fact-based news organization has never been clearer.
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