Over 100 Patients Ended Their Lives Last Year After California’s Assisted Suicide Bill Became Law

Photo Credit: Julia Freeman Woolpert

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Over 100 people ended their lives last year after California’s assisted suicide bill went into law in June, a new report shows.

The California Department of Public Health recently released its 2016 data report, which provided information on the results of California’s End of Life Option Act (EOLA). The Act went into law on June 9, 2016 after being signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October 2015, and allows patients deemed terminally ill to request lethal drugs from their physician to hasten their death.

“From June 9, 2016 through December 31, 2016, 258 individuals started the end-of-life option process, as set forth in the Act, by making two verbal requests to their physicians at least 15 days apart,” the report outlines.

“173 unique physicians prescribed 191 individuals aid-in-dying drugs. Of the 191 individuals who were prescribed such drugs, 111, or 58.1 percent, were reported by their physician to have died following ingestion of aid-in-dying drugs prescribed under EOLA,” it notes.

Another 21 died without the drugs and the remaining 59 have no update recorded, the report explains.

The majority of those who died from the lethal drugs were between the ages of 60-89 and 58 percent had been diagnosed with cancer. Most were enrolled in hospice or were receiving palliative care. 18 percent had ALS or Parkinson’s Disease, 8 percent suffered from heart disease, and 6 percent had non-cancerous lung ailments. Another 9 percent was simply marked “other.”

Aid in dying advocacy groups cheered the results of the report, saying that they were thankful that the option was available for the terminally ill.

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“The state’s data show that even during the early months of the law’s implementation, the law was working well and terminally ill Californians were able to take comfort in knowing that they had this option to peacefully end intolerable suffering,” Compassion & Choices California Director Matt Whitaker said in a statement.

“We continue to work to ensure that every terminally ill Californian has equal access to all end-of-life care options, including hospice, pain control, palliative care and medical aid in dying,” he said.

However, pro-life groups expressed sorrow over the statistics, lamenting the culture of death that euthanasia can usher into the medical industry.

“Once normalized, like other forms of social deviance, the practice is certain to spread. In time, it will not be merely the terminally ill, but rather people who are depressed, or labeled undesirable. The elderly, who have little left to contribute to society would be among the first ordinary victims of such changing attitudes,” said the California Network in a statement.

“In this way, our doctors become killers as much as healers. We learn to dispose instead of fix. We place things like money and ease above life itself,” it sorrowed.

The organization pointed to the expansion of “right to die” allowances in Belgium and the Netherlands.

“In those countries, children and people who are physically healthy are now allowed to commit suicide. Parents are killing children because their children have mental or physical handicaps,” it noted.

“This is the path to a disordered society,” the group opined. “It is diabolical. It is so evil that not even the pagan Romans flirted with the concept. The normalization of suicide causes human life, which can be created only by a miracle of God, to be in competition with worldly decadence.”

As previously reported, following the enactment of the End of Life Option Act, the Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) filed a lawsuit on behalf of five Californian doctors, as well as the American Academy of Medical Ethics (AAME), which represents over 600 doctors in the state. The case is currently moving forward in court after a motion to dismiss, filed by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, was denied this month.

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  • InTheChurch

    Those body parts will be sold for a profit. We have a baby chop shop and soon an adult chop shop.

    • Bob Johnson

      I have had a “Donate” button on my driver’s license for three decades, and I’ve rode a motorcycle all those years. A prime candidate for helping some after I am gone. When our bodies are risen in heaven, I may be the one missing an eye.

  • Eric L

    Remember the progressive worldview: a sea turtle egg is more important than a human life. What does that tell you about their “compassion”?

  • Oboehner

    I wonder how many lives were wasted simply because they saw the wrong doctor…

  • Greg Paley

    The creepy Kevorkian cult. “Here, let me help you die.”

  • Ken Faivor

    What is the difference between giving people lethal drugs and giving them a loaded gun?
    I imagine it’s the same difference as dropping a bomb at 10,000 ft. and beating them to death with a ball bat…………Distance.

    • zampogna

      The difference is they give lethal drugs to the ones who are terminally ill and dying in terrible pain. They do it to alleviate needless suffering.

      • GoVJO

        There are palliative approaches and other beliefs; e.g. that pain and pleasure have a lot in common and that you’re going to hell if you commit suicide, one of the worse sins. Why foster this arrogant, secular belief?

        • zampogna

          A better question is why prolong the pain of someone who is dying, who WANTS to die, and has no quality of life? I know if I were in that
          position I would want to die quickly, and I can’t think of any scripture
          that says otherwise.

    • Bob Johnson

      34,5000 suicides per year in the US.

      The elderly already have the highest rate of suicide – also the highest rate for double suicides. Usually done with firearm, hanging, or drowning.

      • Ken Faivor

        If you are into suicide statistics, see where the veterans come in at. God did not design man to kill each other.

        • Bob Johnson

          “God did not design man to kill each other.”

          It starts in Chapter 4 of Genesis, when there where only four people, “Cain rose up against Abel his brother and slew him.”

        • Croquet_Player

          But most veterans were formerly soldiers (or sailors, etc.) and they take the job knowing that they may have to go kill other people. I’m certainly not blaming them for this, and my hat is off to anyone who signs up to risk their life for their country. And I think “knowing what the deal is when you signed up” and “actually doing it” are two different things.

          One of my best pals is a psychiatrist, and she spent several years treating vets returning from Iraq. A lot of them were in terrible shape. Not just the physical injuries, which in many cases were extensive, but the mental toll it takes on human beings, often very young, who have go go kill other human beings as their job. They go crazy. Genuine psychopaths have no problem doing this. They don’t wake up in the middle of the night with nightmares, or suffer from long-term depression. Regular people do. It’s a tragedy.

          • Ken Faivor

            Regardless of the method of suicide, the reason renains the same……….Hopelessness.
            They don’t believe it can ever get better. In the case of the terminally ill, it’s the Doctors that determine that, following years of previous prognoses of patients that went before them.
            A man without hope needs to know the prognoses of others that were in there shoes that went WAY before them. In Him will they find hope. In Him will they find healing. In Him will they find regeneration. God is still in the healing business…….He never stopped, people just stopped believing.

            Mat_4:24 And the report of him went forth into all Syria: and they brought unto him ALL that were sick, holden with divers diseases and torments, possessed with demons, and epileptic, and palsied; AND HE HEALED THEM.

    • Croquet_Player

      Interesting you should ask. A lot of terminally ill people do chose to end their lives with a gun. However, there are problems with this. Some of them are horribly unsuccessful. Often these people are elderly. They’ve had the old gun in the house for years, and they’re counting on it as their final exit strategy. But when they finally do the deed, they end up shooting half their face off, but not killing themselves, and/or, shooting their dear spouse or beloved family member in the process. It’s utterly ghastly. Some of them choose to jump from a roof, but they’re sick and tired, and don’t climb high enough, and mangle themselves, or passersby underneath them. Or they kill themselves, and another person walking past by falling on them. Some people just yank all their tubes out, and then the blameless caregiver who was upstairs getting lunch prepared is suddenly on trial for “not watching” the patient. These are only a few of the very serious problems involved.

      • GoVJO

        “Assisted suicide” (legal murder suicide) is not clean either. There have been many documented cases of victims of it going to the hospital after surviving, at least for a while. Moreover, their deaths are often anything but peaceful. Killing someone is messy any way it happens.

  • Grace Kwon

    So sad. Secularism makes people meaningless. Rich people need Christianity to be happy and meaningful. I Corinthians 15.

  • michael louwe

    Terminal illnesses like cancer and AIDS are usually a curse/punishment from God for sins/evil-deeds/law-breaking.(DEUT.28:15, 1COR.5:5 & 6:9-11 & 11:30, 1JOHN.5:16)

    ……. Assisted suicide in these cases may save on costs and stress for the patients’ immediate families, eg hospice care, nursing home care and cancer/HIV drugs cost tens of thousands US$. Maybe, for those who are beyond salvation, it’s OK to speed up their way to perdition/hell.

    • Bob Johnson

      I remember a good friend’s 3 year old daughter in the hospital recovering from one of her many cancer operations. I doubt you would tell any of the parents on the ward that their child was dying a protracted death because the little child had sinned.

      • michael louwe

        EXODUS.20:5 = For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

        • Croquet_Player

          I’m sorry, are you explaining why a loving god kills children with fatal diseases? That is is somehow the fault of their ancestors? You may have to explain this to me a bit more. Or, can we just write off every child in a hospital right now, because they came from a great grandparent who was a bad person 120 years before the child was born? Please do explain.

        • Gabriel

          You’re failing to see the point of that verse. It’s not about God condemning the children of sinners, it’s about God blessing those that follow him. Notice the curse goes to the third of fourth generations but the blessing goes to the thousands.
          This interpretation is a perverse doctrine that Jesus addresses in John 9.

          • michael louwe

            DEUT.6: = 14 You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you 15 (for the Lord your God is a jealous God among you), lest the anger of the Lord your God be aroused against you and destroy you from the face of the earth.

            16 “You shall not tempt the Lord your God as you tempted Him in Massah. 17 You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, His testimonies, and His statutes which He has commanded you.

          • michael louwe

            Are you saying that ALL or most of those who were born blind(JOHN.9) are not children of sinners/evildoers/law-breakers.? I’m saying that most of those born with cancer are children of sinners, as per EXO.20:5.

            How about those born HIV+ who are children of often sexually-immoral HIV+/AIDS parents.?
            ……. Ever heard of crack-babies and meth-babies, ie children of drug-addicts.?

            Some are born to poor parents. Some are born to richer parents, who are usually good, law-abiding and hard-working people. IOW, our forefathers decided on what we are born into.
            ……. Hence the saying, “Born with a silver spoon in his mouth” = the silver spoon came from his parents or grandparents.

  • Croquet_Player

    I just wonder, does everyone here who is against this have both kidneys? Or all of their liver? Here is why I ask. There is no obligation to donate a kidney (you have two, one which you can live without), or part of your liver (which will regenerate if you are young and healthy enough). But you can save a life this way. Yes, there is a risk to you. But studies show it’s not a huge risk. Most donor organs are from people who died in fall, car accidents, that sort of thing. But some are from perfectly healthy people who feel a moral obligation to help out. Some people die because a healthy organ simply wasn’t available at the right time. Moral questions are tough, and they have to be asked. I helped my mother though years of dementia and other serious health issues. Each day was worse then that last, though we had the best of medical care. Seeing what she went through, I would certainly want to spare myself the same fate. I certainly don’t wish to die, but at a certain point, I’d like to just quietly check out, with the help of my doctors. I fail to see why this is a bad option. Obviously no one should be pressured into it, and this is why there are medical standards to prevent against it. I would simply like to have the option, for myself.

  • Pipkin

    The same people in favor of assisted suicide tell us it’s some kind of global tragedy that homosexuals and trannies commit suicide. That must mean that the lives of homosexuals and trannies are more valuable than the rest of us. They’re happy to help a heterosexual commit suicide, but by all means saves the homosexuals and trannies.

    Does that sound like “equality,” when 95 percent of the population is told we’re a lower form of life than the 5 percent?

    • Trilemma

      People who are homosexual or transgender don’t commit suicide because they are terminally ill and experiencing excruciating pain. They commit suicide because they have been made to feel they are a lower form of life. Does that sound like “equality” when 5% of the population is told they’re a lower form of life than the the 95% to the point of suicide?

      • GoVJO

        There’s a case on trial with the Supreme Court right now on religious liberty. Making everyone else second class citizens because of how you choose to live your life isn’t fair. It’s also not an excuse, nor is blaming others. Moreover, suicide rates only increase on top of the legal homicides these laws condone.

        P.S. References would help…

        • Trilemma

          Christians making everyone else second class citizens because of how they choose to live their lives isn’t fair. Being Christian isn’t an excuse for such behavior. Christian attitudes toward the LGBT community contribute to the high suicide rate in LGBT community.

          • GoVJO

            Christians want to prevent suicide, think assisted murder/suicide, Kevorkian’s cult, is wrong. How can there be an excuse for it, let alone suicide?!?

          • Trilemma

            Which is the greater tragedy, the gay person who commits suicide because they’ve been bullied or the person who commits suicide because they’re terminally ill and in pain?

          • GoVJO

            You can’t blame Christians for gays committing suicide. Besides the fact that we’re talking about assisted murder/suicide, not gays committing suicide, are you also going to blame Christians for the physical maladies that affect the lifestyle? What about the First Amendment as well?!? Why should LGBT make Christians cow-tow to them against the law of the land on a whim. Give them too much rope, and they’ll likely kill themselves more anyway.

          • Trilemma

            You didn’t answer my question. Yes I can blame Christians for contributing to gay suicide. Pipkin opened the subject of gay suicide. Christians are being made to cow-tow to the law of the land. The First Amendment does not necessarily protect religious based behavior. You don’t seem interested in preventing suicide if the person is gay.

          • GoVJO

            Besides the fact that the two aren’t mutually exclusive, you ask two loaded questions. On the contrary, risky behaviors will likely lead to more likelihood of an illness to justify murder/suicide under this evil law. You think that’s a compassionate approach?!? Moreover, it’s apt to get worse. Just look at Canada and Europe. Even mental illnesses are valid bases there now! A 24 y/o depressed girl in perfect physical health was “helped” last year in Belgium.

          • Trilemma

            The suicide of the 24 year old depressed girl was a tragedy. There are many risky behaviors that can lead to a serious illness such as illegal drug use and smoking cigarettes. Do you really think the compassionate approach is to force someone who is terminally and in excruciating pain to continue to live in pain and suffering against their will?

          • GoVJO

            Who are you to describe the experience? Whoever has experienced it has either conquered death or lies forgotten. Again, it’s an awkward question, kind of like asking how traveling to another solar system would make someone want to die because of loneliness when we haven’t experienced it. Certainly, there are at least palliative remedies, not to mention hospice care for starters. Moreover, there’s a chance of recovery that’s worth fighting for, having courage rather than cowardice in this case.

          • Trilemma

            Neither you nor I can fully comprehend what these patients are experiencing when they desire to end their pain by dying. So, they should be the ones making the decision, not you. Palliative care doesn’t always work. The fact that you would call these people cowards shows that you really don’t have much compassion for them.

          • GoVJO

            Say crazy stuff if you want, but it doesn’t make it so. They can’t end their pain by dying because it’s a messy process, contrary to marketing by the death people. Moreover, it’s immoral. If you market leaches as a way to treat diseases, people will go for it, and they have before. It shouldn’t even have to cross people’s mind while they are receive real treatment.

          • Trilemma

            “They can’t end their pain by dying…”

            Looks like you’re the one saying crazy stuff.

            …because it’s a messy process…”

            You take the pills, go into a coma, then die. How messy is that?

            “Moreover, it’s immoral.”

            If you think it’s immoral then don’t do it. But it’s not for you to impose your personal morality onto others.

          • GoVJO

            “In many of the cases, the death lingers for hours. It’s not a dignified death. It’s not pretty to watch somebody struggle with breathing or having irregular, shallow breathing for hours and hours on end.”

            June 18, 2006 – William L. Toffler, MD

            “Attempts by doctors to help people suffering from fatal illness take their own lives failed to give an ‘easy’ death in one in five cases, researchers say…

            Research into euthanasia in the Netherlands claimed people awake from comas after taking supposedly fatal drug doses and suffer side effects such as vomiting and gasping.

            The study showed that when patients tried to kill themselves using drugs prescribed by a doctor, the medication did not work as expected in 16% of cases.

            In a further 7% of cases there were technical problems or unexpected side effects…

            Patients either took longer to die than expected or woke from a drug-induced coma that was supposed to be fatal in 6% of cases.”

            Feb. 24, 2000 – BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)

            The Heritage Foundation in its “Four Problems with Physician-Assisted Suicide” says:

            “…PAS would harm our entire culture, especially our family and intergenerational obligations. The temptation to view elderly or disabled family members as burdens will increase, as will the temptation for those family members to internalize this attitude and view themselves as burdens. Physician-assisted suicide undermines social solidarity and true compassion…”

          • Trilemma

            You quoted problems noted in 2000 and 2006. If assisted suicide is still having the same level of those problems then something is clearly wrong with how it’s being done and doctors need to change the protocol. If I were going to commit suicide, I would use a helium hood.

            The comment from the Heritage Foundation is a slippery slope logical fallacy. Basically, they’re saying we shouldn’t have compassion on certain patients because it will make us less compassionate for other patients.

          • GoVJO

            Even recent lethal injections had complications, and those use a lot more drugs. On the contrary, it’s a logical fallacy, slippery slope to argue for murder/suicide. It leads to euthanasia, putting to death the weak as is now seen in Europe and Canada where it’s gotten so that a physically healthy 20-something y/o with depression can get help to commit suicide. It’s not a treatment anymore than kicking someone in the balls helps them to realize they’re a man, a burden on society. Prolonging life and making people comfortable’s compassion.

          • Jason Todd

            Trilemma is a liar, and he knows it.

            The single biggest cause for suicide within the LGBTQW community is the community itself.

          • Trilemma

            Actually, it’s family and peer rejection.

  • Bradley Williams

    What is missing in the CA report on assisted suicides?
    So after a year in CA how many self administered the poison as was promised when the concept was marketed? By omitting an ordinary witness all the safeguards are rendered hollow.
    State Documents in Oregon indicate that 20% of their assisted suicide deaths were bullied by the corporate facilitators forcing the poison.
    60%, even the religious, favor the concept then 95% change to not-in-favor after they learn how easily the laws can be wrongly administered Risking us all,all ages, to be exploited by predatory corporations and predatory new best friends or heirs.
    Read the language of the laws to decern the double speak, omissions and commissions.