Last Updated May 23, 2018 2:12 PM EDT Morten Wendelbo is a lecturer at the Bush School of Government and Public Service and a research fellow at the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at Texas A&M University; Timothy Callaghan is an assistant professor at Texas A&M University Health Science Center.After a year in which President Donald Trump devoted much of his health policy attention to efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Trump used part of his State of the Union address in January to press Congress to focus attention in 2018 on a new health priority – the passage of "right to try" legislation. Now, four months later, legislation is on its way to the president's desk.Right to try legislation gives terminally ill patients the right to use experimental medications that have not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. In 2017, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed HR 878, … [Read more...] about “Right to try” bill passes, but will it help terminally ill patients?
Terminally ill patients suffering
SAN DIEGO -- It's been nearly a year since terminally ill patients earned the right to end their own lives in California. Since June 2016, when a state law allowing doctor-assisted deaths went into effect, at least 504 terminally ill Californians have requested a prescription for life-ending drugs. The number released Thursday represents only those who have contacted Compassion & Choices, an advocacy group that provides information on the process. The organization believes the overall figure to be much higher. State officials have not released data yet. CBS Sacramento reports the California Department of Health is expected to release its official report at the end of the month. How the new law is used in California could provide a window into what would happen if the practice spreads nationwide. Some see providing the choice to the dying as a logical evolution in a medical care system advanced in helping people live longer but limited in … [Read more...] about CBS News Logo 504 terminally ill patients request life-ending drugs in California, group says
Morten Wendelbo is a lecturer at the Bush School of Government and Public Service and a research fellow at the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at Texas A&M University; Timothy Callaghan is an assistant professor at Texas A&M University Health Science Center. After a year in which President Donald Trump devoted much of his health policy attention to efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Trump used part of his recent State of the Union address to press Congress to focus attention in 2018 on a new health priority – the passage of "right to try" legislation. Right to try legislation gives terminally ill patients the right to use experimental medications that have not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. In 2017, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed HR 878, legislation that would do just that and the president's address has pressured the U.S. House to follow suit, where a bill is now being debated in … [Read more...] about CBS News Logo What is “right to try,” and would it help terminally ill patients?
LOS ANGELES – More times than she can count, Dr. Carin van Zyl has heard terminally ill patients beg to die. They tell her they can’t handle the pain, that the nausea is unbearable and the anxiety overwhelming. If she were in the same situation, she, too, would want life-ending medication, even though she doubts she would ever take it. “I would want an escape hatch,” she said. This fall, California became the fifth — and largest — state to allow physicians to prescribe lethal medications to certain patients who ask for it. Yet van Zyl can’t see herself as one of those doctors. “This is my life’s work, to relieve suffering,” said van Zyl, head of palliative care medicine at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. To her, that does not mean cutting short a life. “I can’t imagine pulling the trigger,” she said. Weeks after California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the “end-of-life option act” into law, … [Read more...] about California is fifth state to let doctors prescribe lethal medicine to terminally ill patients
ALBANY — New York’s highest court unanimously upheld the state’s prohibition against doctors helping their patients commit suicide. In a much-anticipated decision, the Court of Appeals upheld lower court rulings that prevented physicians from providing so-called aid-in-dying care to terminally ill patients. “Although New York has long recognized a competent adult’s right to forgo life-saving medical care, we reject plaintiffs’ argument that an individual has a fundamental constitutional right to aid-in-dying as they define it,” the judges wrote in their decision. The decision was a defeat for an advocacy group — End of Life Choices — and a collection of terminally ill patients and doctors who believe aid-in-dying should be viewed differently from traditional definitions of assisted suicide. They argued that patients seeking to exercise control and avoid suffering should be allowed to obtain medications that … [Read more...] about Ruling barring New York doctors from helping terminally ill patients commit suicide upheld
SAN DIEGO — In early July, Betsy Davis emailed her closest friends and relatives to invite them to a two-day party, telling them: "These circumstances are unlike any party you have attended before, requiring emotional stamina, centeredness and openness." And just one rule: No crying in front of her. The 41-year-old artist with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, held the gathering to say goodbye before becoming one of the first Californians to take a lethal dose of drugs under the state's new doctor-assisted suicide law for the terminally ill. "For me and everyone who was invited, it was very challenging to consider, but there was no question that we would be there for her," said Niels Alpert, a cinematographer from New York City. "The idea to go and spend a beautiful weekend that culminates in their suicide — that is not a normal thing, not a normal, everyday occurrence. In the background of the lovely fun, smiles and laughter that we had that weekend … [Read more...] about Terminally ill woman with ALS throws a party before taking lethal dose of drugs to end her life
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Aja Riggs has undergone aggressive radiation and chemotherapy treatment for advanced uterine cancer. The 49-year-old Santa Fe resident remembers the feeling of her skin burning, all the medication, the nausea and the fatigue so immense that even talking sapped too much energy. All she wanted was the choice to end her life if the suffering became too great. She has that option now thanks to a New Mexico judge’s landmark ruling Monday, which clears the way for competent, terminally ill patients to seek their doctors’ help in getting prescription medication if they want to end their lives on their own terms. Second Judicial Judge Nan Nash said such patients have a fundamental right to seek aid in dying because the New Mexico Constitution prohibits the state from depriving a person from enjoying life and liberty or seeking and obtaining safety and happiness. “This court cannot envision a right more fundamental, more private or more … [Read more...] about New Mexico judge rules doctors can help terminally ill patients commit suicide without prosecution
A Massachusetts ballot question that would have let terminally ill patients end their lives with physician-assisted suicide was narrowly defeated Tuesday. Some 51% of voters rejected the measure, called Question 2, which would have allowed doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medication to those with only six months to live. “For the past year, the people of Massachusetts participated in an open and honest conversation about allowing terminally ill patients the choice to end their suffering,” the Death with Dignity campaign said in a conceding statement. “The Death with Dignity Act offered the terminally ill the right to make that decision for themselves, but regrettably, we fell short.” If passed, Massachusetts would have joined Washington and Oregon in allowing the terminally ill to end their lives with prescribed medication. The Massachusetts measure was modeled on that of Oregon, which requires patients to request lethal … [Read more...] about Massachusetts voters narrowly defeat Question 2, measure that would have allowed physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients
Five doctors in Hawaii say they’re willing to help terminally ill patients end their lives. The only problem — it isn’t legal. Dr. Robert “Nate” Nathanson, 78, is willing to risk prison and the loss of his medical license in order to write lethal prescriptions for dying patients, reports American Medical News. Nathanson has co-founded the Physician Advisory Council for Aid in Dying with four other doctors who want to make a push to make it legal for Hawaiians to die with hdignity. Right now the only states that legally allow doctors to write a prescriptions for deadly doses of sedatives are Oregon and Washington. In those states, the patient must take the final dose himself after a 15-day waiting period and counseling with two physicians. The patient must have a diagnosis of having six or fewer months to live. In states where there are no death-with-dignity laws, doctors who wish to help patients end their suffering are often caught … [Read more...] about Five Hawaii doctors say they’ll offer assisted suicide help to terminally ill patients
Four men allegedly conned more than $1.5M out of terminally ill patients by hawking miracle stem-cell cures, Reuters reported. Three men were arrested and another is on the run, the FBI reported, after all four were charged with 39 counts of mail fraud and illegally manufacturing, distributing and selling stem cells and related procedures. The group launched the three-year scam in March 2007, allegedly working together to convince hopeless patients to undergo illegal procedures they promised would treat “incurable diseases,” according to the FBI. “This investigation identified a scheme whereby the suffering and hopes of victims in extreme medical need were used and manipulated for personal profit,” said Cory B. Nelson of the FBI in an online statement. “The predatory and opportunistic nature of the crimes alleged in this indictment mirrors images from science fiction.” The three men arrested are Francisco Morales, 52, of Brownsville, … [Read more...] about Men charged with selling miracle stem-cell cures to terminally ill patients