Effective June 9, 2016, California passed legislation allowing a terminally ill person to end his or her life voluntarily. This legislation was enacted as section 443 of the California Health and Safety Code.
A patient can elect to terminate his or her life under the following conditions:
1. The patient must be at least 18 years of age and a resident of California.
2. The patient must be “mentally competent.”
3. The patient must make two verbal requests 15 days apart, followed by a written request witnessed by two persons including one non-relative.
4. Two doctors must agree about the patient’s medical diagnosis and mental competency before making the prescription.
5. The patient must self-administer the drug.
6. This law only applies to a patient who has been diagnosed as having six months or less to live.
7. The patient must sign a form at least 48 hours before taking the medication confirming the choice to die was made of his or her own free will.
© Milton Berry Scott, 2016