Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Sunday, December 5, 2021

New California Law Eases Aid-in-Dying Process

DoctorsMany cancer patients have to undergo toxic treatment just so they can spend more time with their loved ones. For some, the toxic treatments kill the cancer and it never comes back. However, for Leslie—and many others—the cancer will make an aggressive return. 

After Leslie was diagnosed with breast cancer, she underwent toxic treatment so that she could spend more time with her husband and two young children. Although Leslie was cancer-free for 18 months, "the disease returned with a vengeance" and "fractured her bones and invaded her spinal canal, bathing her brain in malignancy." 

In her final months, Leslie was in constant pain and essentially withered away. According to Leslie's husband, Bernard J. Wolfson, the thought of ending her suffering by ending her life didnt even enter their conversations. 

Wolfson stated that he has been thinking about his wife's last days as he looks into California's End of Life Option Act, "which allows terminally ill patients with a life expectancy of less than six months to end their lives by taking medications prescribed by a physician." 

Amanda Villegas of Ontario, California, and an advocate for updating the original law which "contains numerous safeguards to ensure that patients are not being coerced by family members. . ." Under the original law, which remains in effect until January 1, patients who want to die must make two oral requests for the medications at least 15 days apart. 

According to Villegas, "[the new law] will open doors for people who might. . .experience the same roadblocks. . .[w]hen you are dying, the last thing you need is to go through bureaucratic barriers to access peace." 

See Bernard K. Wolfson, New California Law Eases Aid-in-Dying Process, KHN, December 3, 2021. 

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.  


Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink


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