California judge overturns End of Life Option Law

Thursday, 17 May, 2018

Judge Daniel Ottolia of the Riverside County Superior Court ruled that lawmakers improperly passed the measure during a special legislative session on health-care funding, but did not rule against the legality of the law itself.

"We strongly disagree with this ruling and the state is seeking expedited review in the Court of Appeal", Becerra said in a statement. The bill's proponents tout dignity, choice, compassion, and painlessness.

Stephanie Packer, who suffers from a terminal lung disease, claims her insurance company declined to pay for a chemotherapy treatment recommended by her doctor but offered to pay for life-ending drugs instead. California's law allows patients with less than six months to live to request end-of-life drugs from their doctors, a practice that has been allowed in OR for more than 20 years.

Even if the state loses in its appeal, California's legislature would likely pass an identical piece of legislation while avoiding the procedural issues cited in Ottolia's ruling. I am here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.

"Just as assisted suicide contravenes the Hippocratic oath, the judge found that the California legislature contravened the state constitution", stated CMDA CEO Dr. David Stevens. Choice is really an illusion for a very few.

"If this isn't Californians' health care, I don't know what is", said Eggman, a former social worker at hospices, who disputes Ottolia's conclusion that her bill should not have been considered during the special session.

"For too many, assisted suicide will be the only affordable "treatment" that is offered them", Ms. Packer said in a statement.

Doctors who sued to prevent the law from passing in 2016 said it lacked a suitable definition of terminal illness and a plan for exempting doctors from liability who prescribe lethal drugs.

However, Larson challenged the bill specifically on the fact that the special session was called "to address funding shortages caused by Medi-Cal".

The legislation gained new support in California from the plight of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old schoolteacher from Alamo who was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2014.

"The people we represent are shocked and are absolutely heartbroken this option has been taken away from them", spokesman Sean Crowley said. Opponents argue that these laws could lead to coercion and abuse of vulnerable patients.

Harry Nelson, a healthcare attorney in Los Angeles who represents several doctors who have prescribed lethal prescriptions, told the Los Angeles Times he thinks it is unlikely the law will be permanently overturned. "When we move forward, there are those who would like to drag us back".

In California, opponents including Catholic leaders and medical groups defeated a 1992 initiative to legalize aid-in-dying and stalled other bills in the state Legislature.

California is one of seven states—the others being Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Hawaii—as well as the District of Columbia, that have enacted laws authorizing assisted suicide.

Matt Valliere, executive director of the New York-based Patients Rights Action Fund, applauded the ruling. But in comments during last year's hearing quoted by opponents, Ottolia said the right-to-die law did not appear to be "related to improving the health of Californians", Brown's stated overall goal for the session.

“I am so grateful that Californias assisted suicide law was overturned today.

"There is far too much still not known about how this law is put into practice - especially as it pertains to disabled, elderly and other populations", the conference said January 24.