On October 5, 2015, Governor Brown signed the “End of Life Option Act”, making California the largest state in the union to legalize physician-assisted suicide.
The law, which will go into effect June 9, 2016, will allow physicians to prescribe medication that will end the life of a terminally ill patient, subject to several restrictions.
1. Only a terminally ill adult who has capacity to make medical decisions may request a life-ending drug.
2. A request for a life-ending drug must be made by the terminally ill person. The request cannot be made through an Advance Health Care Directive or through a person acting as an agent under a Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions.
3. The person requesting a life-ending drug must be physically and mentally able to self-administer the drug.
4. The person requesting a life-ending drug must make two oral requests for the drug to their physician at least 15 days apart.
5. The person requesting a life-ending drug must also submit a written request, signed in the presence of two witnesses, to their physician.
Based on the restrictions contained within the law, Drobny Law Offices, Inc.’s clients do not need to update their Advance Health Care Directive, because a request for a life-ending drug must be made personally. A request for a life-ending drug cannot be made by an agent acting under a Power of Attorney for Health Care. Likewise, a request for a life-ending drug cannot be made through an Advance Health Care Directive.
Unless you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, there is no need for you to contact this office to update your Advance Health Care Directive as a result of Governor Brown’s signing of California’s physician-assisted suicide law.