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California end-of-life law begins on Thursday

California will join three other states that have enacted end-of-life laws on Thursday.

California end-of-life law begins on Thursday

The implementation of the new law means that terminally ill patients will be allowed to end their lives at their discretion after an extensive process. "We don't like to think about it," said Assemblywoman Susan Eggman. "We don't like to talk about it. We think it's going to happen to somebody but not us."

But she wants to stop sidestepping the conversation about death is something. From her perspective, the End of Life Option Act is a step in the right direction for California. "It provides the ability to provide one more option for people at the end of their life," Eggman said. "Also encourages the conversation about what people want and don't want in their final days."

After the signing of the bill by Gov. Jerry Brown in October, California joined Oregon, Washington and Vermont in the small group of states that allows physician-assisted suicide.

In order to receive end-of-life drugs, you must be over 18 years old and you must have a prognosis of less than six months to live. Third, you must also be capable of making your own medical decisions. Eggman said the process starts with a conversation between the patient and their primary care physician.

"Often times this comes at the end of a very long fight against something," Eggman said. "This is not something where people get a terminal illness and say 'I don't want to do this anymore.
The patient will be required to make one written and two verbal requests and the patient must be able to take the drug on their own and two doctors must sign off on the paperwork. [The doctors] both have to document that they have made this assessment and they will stand behind it with their professional integrity," said Ben Rich, UC Davis Medical Professor.