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Every year, hundreds of Californians resort to euthanasia: what caused the adoption of the law

California law, which entered into force in June 2016, allows terminally ill adults in the state to receive and take medication on their own to help them die. The adoption of this law was associated with Brittany Maynard. Writes about this OCRegister.

Фото: Depositphotos

From June 2016 to 2018, 1108 prescriptions for lethal drugs were issued.

807 people, or 72,8%, died after taking medication during this period.

86,7% of the deceased received care or palliative care.

In 2018, 337 people died from medication.

Of the 337, almost 90% were 60 years of age or older; 94,4% had medical insurance; and 88,1% received care or palliative care.

This corresponds to 12,6 per 10 deaths in California (000 out of 337 268 deaths) in 47743.

According to the California Department of Health, more people wanted to get euthanasia in 2018 than they received permission. In accordance with the law, people must make two oral requests to the doctor with an interval of at least 15 days. While 531 people made these requests, only 452 recipes were written.

According to state authorities, these prescriptions have been prescribed by 180 different doctors. The most common recipes were sedatives and a combination of cardiotonics, opioids and sedatives.

Maynard became the face of the euthanasia movement. She received her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley in 2006 and her master's degree in education from the University of California at Irvine in 2010. She was passionate about the world and sought to make it better by teaching in orphanages in Kathmandu and traveling to Vietnam, Cambodia and other countries.

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In 2012, Maynard married and soon began to suffer from severe headaches. On January 1, 2014, she was diagnosed with brain cancer. Maynard had surgery, but the cancer returned in April of that year. She was told that only six months remained to live.

“Because my tumor is so large, the doctors prescribed full brain irradiation,” Maynard wrote. - I read about the side effects: the hair on my head will be burned out, my scalp will be covered with first-degree burns. The quality of my life will not only deteriorate, it will disappear. "

“After months of research, my family and I have come to a heartbreaking conclusion: there is no treatment that will save my life, and the recommended treatments will simply destroy the remaining time,” added Maynard.

Maynard rejected the idea of ​​dying in a hospice because she was afraid of pain, personality changes, "verbal, cognitive and motor loss."

“Since the rest of my body is young and healthy, I will likely hold on physically for a long time, even if cancer eats up my mind,” she wrote. “I would probably suffer in the hospice for several weeks or even months. And my family should have looked at it. "

Instead, Maynard began looking for dignified deaths - euthanasia.

“This is an end of life option for mentally healthy but terminally ill patients with a life prognosis of no more than six months. I can get a prescription from a doctor for medications that I will take on my own to end my life if it becomes unbearable. I quickly decided that dying with dignity was the best option for me and my family, ”Maynard wrote.

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But because there was no dignified death law in California, the family had to move from California to Oregon, one of the five states where such a law was in effect at that time. In recent weeks, she has been actively struggling to pass the Dignity of Death Act in California, and millions have watched her videos.

Maynard ended her life surrounded by loved ones on November 1, 2014. Her mother, Ziegler, continued to fight for the euthanasia law, and Governor Jerry Brown signed into California the California End of Life Act in October 2015.

The battle was not over. Opponents of the law sued, claiming that he had effectively decriminalized suicide. A Riverside County judge dismissed the law in 2018, saying the legislature violated the state’s constitution by enacting the law during a special health session, but the state appeals court reinstated the law.

Maynard has worked with Compassion & Choices, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering people to “make their end-of-life choices.” The group created the Brittany Maynard Foundation to help legalize euthanasia laws in other states. Her mother remains an activist in the movement.

“Your most important legacy was more about life than death,” Maynard's mother wrote on Facebook. “I try to honor your memory by living my wild and precious life as best I can. You showed us the way. What are we going to do with our only life? Try to live with the courage and honesty that you have shown, my hummingbird. "

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