On October 5, 2015, California became the fifth state in the nation to allow physicians to prescribe terminally ill patients medication to end their lives. ABX2-15, the “End of Life Option Act,” permits terminally ill adult patients with capacity to make medical decisions to be prescribed an aid-in-dying medication if certain conditions are met. The following document discusses the requirements under the End of Life Option Act, which went into effect June 9, 2016:
- CMA On-Call #3459: The California End of Life Option Act . . .
- On-demand webinar: The California End of Life Option Act: An Overview
Advance Health Care Directive
In California, advance directives are the legally recognized format for “living wills.” An advance directive enables individuals to make sure that their health care wishes are known in advance and considered if for any reason they are unable to speak for themselves. Advance directives also allow patients to appoint a health care “agent” who will have legal authority to make health care decisions in the event that the patient is incapacitated, or immediately upon appointment if the patient expressly grants such authority.
See below for more information about advance directives, or to purchase CMA’s Advance Health Care Directive Toolkit, available in English and Spanish:
- CMA Advance Health Care Directive Kit in English (rev. 3/14) . . .
- CMA On-Call #3451 : Decisions Regarding Life-Sustaining Treatment – Advance Directives and POLST (2015)
Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment
Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) in 2009 became a legally recognized document, similar to the widely used “do not resuscitate” (DNR) orders. The POLST form, used for patients with a serious illness or whose life expectancy is a year or less, outlines a plan of care reflecting the patient’s wishes concerning medical treatment and interventions at life’s end. The POLST form complements an advance directive by turning a patient’s treatment preferences into actionable medical orders. . .
Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Form
The Pre-Hospital DNR form, developed by the California Emergency Medical Services in conjunction with the California Medical Association, instructs EMS personnel to forgo resuscitation attempts in the event of a patient’s cardiopulmonary arrest. Below you will find CMA resources that include additional details about DNR requests and purchasing information for the DNR form in English and Spanish.
- Do Not Resuscitate Form in English
- CMA On-Call #3453 : Decisions Regarding Resuscitative Measures – DNR Requests & Orders and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (2015)
CMA’s Health Law Library
Updated annually, CMA’s online health law library contains nearly 5000 pages of valuable information for physicians and their staff. The CMA Center for Legal Affairs has developed several On-Call documents on important end-of-life issues in the medical practice. . . Read the entire site . . . 
So the next time you get sick, you might forgo reading Chaucer and start reading these 5,000 pages. They won’t help you, though. These pages are written by agnostics who think death is so painful that everybody’s screaming on their way down the chute. Almost everyone is on some heart or blood pressure medication to help regulate the heart and circulation. If you’re on a beta-blocker, you’ve probably heard your doctor state that your dose is maxed out because your heart rate is in the 50s or even the 40s. A few more pills would bring it down into the 30s when your kidneys may shut down. Then a few more and your brain may shut down. Why make your doctor guilty of murder, euphemistically called “doctor assisted suicide.” The Creator knows yours and your doctor’s motive and will judge you both accordingly. Why include your doctor in this murder contract. Keep the onus on just you and take an extra dozen or two of your Beta Blockers. You won’t see the light of day. And you won’t leave any needle marks that a different judge may prosecute your doctor for murder.
This entire diatribe just points out that Health care administrators, legislators, congressmen, senators, president of the USA, President of our Medical societies don’t understand Medical Practice. They think they have to give us a law to write a lethal prescription. Until recent years, physicians were the only group authorized to write prescriptions. We write prescriptions for 30 day supply of medications, to 60 day, 90 day, 120 day and even more. Most cardiac and blood pressure pills will give cardiac or circulatory arrest with essentially any of the above prescription doses. Add another 30 or 90 day supply of Valium or other sedative will essentially be identical to what the law states to prescribe for those that want to kill themselves—or rather have their doctors kill them. We have that authority without the law. Why do lawmakers continue to want to express their ignorance of medical practice?
Hippocrates and His Kin / Hippocrates Modern Colleagues
The Challenges of Yesteryear, Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow
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