If you have read the information on accessing the End of Life Option Act and all of this seems overwhelming, know that you are not alone.
Many people find accessing the law difficult. That’s why we are here to help.
Collectively we at EOLCCA have had decades of experience in death and dying and have been involved with the End of Life Option Act since its inception here in California. We will help you and your family walk through the process from beginning to end. We can explain all legal end-of-life options available in California including the End of Life Option Act and also provide support and advocacy throughout the process. There are other options we can discuss with you also. We provide this service at no charge.
Finding a Physician:
First, ask your physician
The first thing to do is to ask your physician now, at the beginning of your search and possibly while you are still well, if he or she would support you if you were diagnosed with a terminal illness and had 6 or fewer months to live. Be very specific to say you’d like to know if they are willing to provide you with a life-ending prescription, using California’s medical aid in dying law (MAID), in order that you might have a peaceful death and control the timing of your death or when you can no longer tolerate suffering. Hopefully, your physician will say yes, or if they can’t, perhaps refer you to another physician who will. If your physician says, “No. Absolutely not.” or something equally final, you have the option to change physicians. Whichever way it goes, be sure to ask that your request be documented in the medical records and that you be referred to another physician or social worker who may help.
You have options
You also could consider exploring the doctor’s rationale with her/him, and possibly change their mind. Ask your doctor: Why? Why after all these years of testing and treatment, they would not support you in your time of greatest suffering? If they sound at all unsure, or ambivalent, you have an educational opportunity and can provide them with our phone number. We can connect them with a physician with many years of experience of working with patients in similar situations.
If your disease process allows you time to wait a few weeks, you could ask your physician again and see if there is any movement in their response to the question of providing medical aid-in-dying.
If you have already been diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness and you have no further treatment options, or they are no longer effective, and you have been told you have 6 months or less to live, ask the physician with whom you have the best relationship if he/she will prescribe life-ending medical aid-in-dying for you in order that you may have a peaceful death when you have had enough suffering.
Words you could consider using when talking with your physician are the following: “California’s End of Life Option Act gives you the legal right to prescribe medication for me so I may control the time and place of my death – and that is what I want. How do I go about making this happen if you won’t do this for me?” A growing number of hospices now have physicians on staff who will examine you in your home and, if you qualify, prescribe the medication for medical aid-in-dying. We can help you find a hospice that participates in MAID.
California's End of Life Option Act REQUIRES that you are a resident of the state of California to be eligible for the EOLOA.
This can be proven by:
(A) Possession of a California driver license or other identification issued by the State of California.
(B) Registration to vote in California.
(C) Evidence that the person owns or leases property in California.
(D) Filing of a California tax return for the most recent tax year.
Forms For Patients
Eligibility Criteria Include:
- Is a California Resident
- Is 18 years of age
- Has a terminal illness and confirmed to have 6 months or less life expectancy
- Is making an informed decision
- Has decisional capacity to make an informed decision
- Is physically and mentally capable of ingesting aid in dying medication
- Has not demonstrated undue coercion and acted of own accord
- Has submitted and signed, the witnessed written request form