End of Life Option Act Report Reveals 377 Californians Died by Euthanasia in 2017

In 2017, 632 individuals started the end-of-life option process, 577 received prescriptions for aid-in-dying drugs and 374 people died following ingestion of the prescribed drugs.

SACRAMENTO — Two years after the End of Life Option Act (EOLA) became law in California, a report detailing the first full year of data about known individuals who died using aid-in-dying drugs has been released. The End of Life Option Act allows qualified adults who have been diagnosed with a terminal disease to request aid-in-dying drugs from their physician and to self-administer those drugs. The Act requires physicians to submit data to the California Department of Public Health (CDHP).

The just-released report for the 2017 calendar year reveals that 632 individuals started the end-of-life option process, 577 received prescriptions for aid-in-dying drugs and 374 people died following ingestion of the prescribed drugs (62.9 percent of those receiving a prescription). The report shows that 86 of the individuals who received aid-in-dying drugs died as a result of their underlying illness and therefore did not take those drugs. The outcome for the remaining 128 people has not yet been reported. Physicians prescribing aid-in-dying drugs numbered 241.

Of the 374 individuals who died after ingesting aid-in-dying drugs, 90.4 percent were over 60 years old and 83.4 percent were receiving hospice and/or palliative care. The median age was 74 years. Over 95 percent were insured, and 88.9 percent were white. The EOLA 2017 report indicates that 68.5 percent of those dying pursuant to the act were diagnosed with terminal cancer; the second-largest group of illnesses was neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and ALS. Among those with cancer, the majority (17.2 percent) had lung cancer, with breast cancer the second-most reported disease at 11.3 percent.

See the complete California End of Life Option Act 2017 Data Report here.

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