Honolulu, Hawaii, Jan 8, 2019 / 14:01 pm
Hawaii's law legalizing assisted suicide went into effect last week, but many physicians and pharmacists are choosing not to prescribe or dispense the needed medication.
The Our Care, Our Choice Act was signed into law in April 2018, and took effect Jan. 1.
“A minority of physicians feel prepared to actually participate in terms of writing a prescription," Dr. Daniel Fischberg, medical director of the The Queen's Medical Center palliative care department told the AP.
According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, The Queen's Medical Center and Hawaii Pacific Health have both said their pharmacies will not fill prescriptions for assisted suicide, and patients may not administer the medication at their locations.
CVS has said that their pharmacists can choose whether to fill prescriptions for assisted suicide drugs.
The law allows a terminally ill adult Hawaii resident to receive a prescription for a lethal medication if two doctors find that the person has fewer than six months to live and is mentally competent. The patient must undergo a mental health evaluation to determine that they are not “suffering from conditions that may interfere with decision-making, such as a lack of treatment of depression,” according to the AP.
The patient must make two requests for the life-ending medication, with a 20-day waiting period between requests, and sign a written request witnessed by two people, one of whom cannot be related to the patient.
A doctor may dispense the medication, but it must be self-administered.