Yesterday, Hawaii‘s Department of Health released its first report on the implementation of the state’s Our Care, Our Choice Act, which took effect in January.
As expected, the first five months of data collected on usage of the death with dignity law show the law is being used sparingly—eight terminally ill patients qualified under the law; two of them used medical aid in dying to peacefully end their lives—and with no issues. The full report can be viewed here.
Here’s how the media covered the news:
“‘Like A Christmas Present’: Hawaii’s Medical Aid in Dying Law Eased Patient’s Anxiety,” Honolulu Civil Beat, 7/1/2019
Civil Beat spoke with Kathy Johnson about her husband, Steve, who was the second person in Hawaii to use the Our Care, Our Choice Act. Steve’s death was “a tragedy,” she said, said Kathy Johnson, “but for a little bit of the tragedy Steve got to write his own script. “He didn’t waste away, he didn’t lose any cognitive function. He was still Steve until he died, which is something he wanted for all of us.”
“8 Hawaii patients obtain aid-in-dying prescriptions; 2 take action,” Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7/2/2019
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports the two individuals who used the law were a 73-year-old man with ALS and a 75-year-old man with prostate cancer.
“Hawaii Department of Health releases 6-month report on Our Care, Our Choice Act,” KITV Channel 4 Island News, 7/1/2019
KITV quotes a representative from Hawaii’s Department of Health: “This has been a collaborative effort and the dedication of Hawaii’s healthcare providers to help patients and their families navigate the system has played a critical role in successfully implementing the law,” said Lorrin Kim, the Department of Health’s chief policy officer and legislative coordinator. “There is more discussion in the community about supportive care alternatives when curative treatment is no longer viable.”
To learn more about the history of Hawaii’s death with dignity movement and Death with Dignity’s many years of work in the Aloha State, read our feature story, “The Inside Story of Hawaii’s Long Road to Victory.”