Dear Friends,
Last month at the Honolulu chapter’s Amazing Care Network tea, we heard from Dr. Chuck Miller on Hawaii’s experience with the medical aid in dying legislation that was passed five years ago. Dr. Miller has been an active supporter of patient choice for end-of-life care for the people of Hawaii as a member of Doctors for Dignity. Since January 2019, he has assumed the role of Program Director for Kaiser Hawaii’s Medical Aid in Dying Program. You can find a copy of his presentation here

For me, among the takeaways from Dr. Miller’s talk were these:

  • Even when patients request medical aid-in-dying, not everyone participates fully. If memory serves correctly, only about 130 patients participated fully in the program since inception five years ago.
  • Participation in the program is not a spur-of-the-moment decision by participants. They think and plan this months in advance.
  • Participants have other options (and exercise them) to end suffering without medical aid-in-dying medication. Refusing to eat or drink is one such option.

Dr. Miller’s talk was informative and spurred lots of conversation among members and attendees. It certainly brought back memories of my late husband’s struggle with debilitating pain towards the end of his life and his decision ultimately to seek medical aid in dying. I’m grateful to Dr. Miller for his informative presentation and the compassionate way in which he dealt with the topic.

I end this note with an introduction to Ramon Catbagan, an Amazing Care member whose story is featured here. Ramon works at Sterling and I’m privileged to work with him, learn from him, and enjoy his company.

With my best wishes,