Hawaii prepares for law allowing medically assisted suicide

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii health officials are urging health care organizations to prepare for the law allowing doctors to fulfill requests from terminally ill patients to prescribe life-ending medication. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports state Department of Health officials say they are working to establish a process that assures “patients and their family members fully understand” alternative options. The law that goes into effect at the start of next year requires two health care providers to confirm patients’ diagnosis, prognosis, ability to make decisions and that the request is voluntary. For patients to receive the life-ending medication, they must make two oral requests with a 20-day waiting period in between. They must also sign a request witnessed by two people. Hawaii Medical Association Executive Director Chris Flanders says most doctors seem reluctant to participate.