WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- California's new right-to-die law went into effect on Thursday. However, terminally ill patients must meet a strict list of requirements in order to get a doctor's assistance to end their lives.
Kaiser Permanente has confirmed they will offer end-of-life medication, but they will not require doctors to participate in the program. So those diagnosed with less than six months to live will have a new choice to make when it comes to die.
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"We all have a beginning, a middle, and an end," said Dan Maynard.
His wife, Brittany Maynard, opened up the conversation on end-of-life medication when in 2014, faced with a brain tumor, she moved from her home in Alamo to Oregon in order to die with dignity.
"Within five minutes of taking the medication, Britney fell asleep very peacefully," said Diaz. "Within 30 minutes, her breathing slowed to the point where she passed away. That's the gentle passing that this program offers a terminally ill individual."
In order to be prescribed end-of-life medication now in California you have to be terminally ill, be able to sign a document, meet doctors, and be able to self-administer the drug. It mirrors the 18-year-old law in Oregon.
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But the Patients Rights Action Fund has launched a new website in response to the new law in California; a place to collect stories of what they call the mistakes and abuses of offering end-of-life medication.
"Direct coercion isn't even necessary," said Marilyn Golden with the Disabilty Rights Education & Defense Fund. "If an insurer simply denies expensive life-saving treatment or even delays approving it, you are being steered towards hastening death."
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Forty-eight Catholic hospitals in California, according to the CEO of alliance of Catholic healthcare, will utilize a provision in the law allowing physicians and hospitals to not participate.
Less than 1 percent of terminally ill patients opt for end-of-life drugs. Most turn to palliative care and hospice.
Now individual patients in California will, for the first time, be able to consult with doctors who are open to end of life medication right here at home.
For the latest details on Brittany Maynard's passing and right-to-die legislation, click here.
Brittany Maynard's husband speaks as California's right-to-die law goes into effect
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