SAMANTHA TRAD: “By show of hands, how many of you here today are going to die?” (LAUGHTER)
A series of meetings is being held on Hawaiʻi Island about Death with Dignity as the Our Care, Our Choice Act goes into effect in just a few months.
TRAD: “It’s why it’s so important to talk to your doctor and make sure your doctor and your – your whole care staff – that they know what, what you want.”
The conference room was full at the Hilo Aging and Disability Resource Center on October 24th for a presentation by Compassion & Choices Hawaiʻi.
TRAD: “We call it the Access Campaign. Compassion & Choices, we work to help states pass these laws and then we stick around to make sure people have access to it.”
They are the local affiliate for the nonprofit organization committed to improving care and expanding choice.
TRAD: “At the end of life, you want to make sure that everyone who’s qualified had the option.”
The free presentation, also delivered in Kona and Waimea…
TRAD: “Talk to a pharmacists whoʻs prescribed before…”
Intended to help everyone understand and prepare for implementation of the Our Care, Our Choice Act. The new law that authorizes medical aid in dying.
TRAD: “… to self administer to bring about a peaceful death. By law medical aid in dying is not considered suicide, assisted suicide, homicide or euthanasia.”
Access Campaign director Samantha Trad explained the details.
TRAD: “Medical aid in dying eligibility criteria. So, as I said, you have to be an adult at least 18 years or older. You need to be terminally ill. And you need to have a prognosis of six months or less to live. And you need to be mentally capable of making informed medical decisions. A patient must make two verbal requests separated by twenty days and one written request which can be submitted at anytime. So, there is a waiting period. The fastest a person could receive a prescription for medical aid in dying is twenty days, and that is if you have all your ducks lined up in a row.”
Trad also played an emotional video documenting an end-of-life experience for one terminally ill patient.
TRAD: “… a beautiful video…”
After the presentation, audience members had questions.
“Being on the outer islands I think we do suffer the issue of isolation.”
Many expressed concerns about implementation on the Big Island.
TRAD: “I know there’s a shortage of physicians, as well, in Hawaiʻi – I’ve read in the newspaper and that’s why being educated is so important.”
East Hawaiʻi palliative care providers were also on hand.
TRAD: Kokua Mau is here – Lori Miller – and we have been talking to them and they’re very aware of the law. Do you want to say anything?”
LORI MILLER: “I’m the executive director of Kauaʻi Hospice but I also serve as the president of Kokua Mau, which is the state hospice and palliative care organization, and we have been very involved in understanding how this law has – how this legislation has – become law and working with our members to understand what position we would
take as a member organization. Because our member organizations are quite diverse and representative of places like Catholic hospitals and health insurance carriers.
BRENDA HO: “Hawaiʻi Care Choices – which is the East Hawaiʻi hospice and palliative care organization, would always support whatever our patients, they have options – multiple options.”
Lorrin Kim with the Hawaiʻi Department of Health was also in attendance.
LORRIN KIM: “The bill we have is something. It wasn’t there before. And before it was passed it was enough to get passed. That’s what we have to recognize and I have the constitutional authority to implement the law as it’s
The presentation was coordinated by the Hawaiʻi County office of aging, State Senators Lorraine Inouye and Russell Ruderman, and State Representatives Cindy Evans and Joy San Buenaventura.
REP. JOY SAN BUENAVENTURA: “This time around, it died in the house the year before, because – and we kill the Senate bill because we didn’t believe it had enough safeguards. So, like Senator Inouye said, I know it is going to be more difficult for the patient itself. But we ask for your patience. We want to make sure it works.”
The Our Care, Our Choice Act goes into effect on January 1st, 2019.
TRAD: “Most people, of course, want a peaceful death.”