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Hawaii now allows terminally ill patients access to aid-in-dying prescriptions

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HAWAII — The Hawaii Department of Health will provide medical aid-in-dying to patients who request services.

According to the state department’s website, the implementation of the “Our Care, Our Choice Act” went into effect January 1.

Under the new law, Hawaii residents 18+ who are diagnosed with a terminal illness and have a prognosis of less than six months to live may obtain aid-in-dying prescriptions.

These prescriptions can only be obtained after two separate verbal requests to two physicians, a written request with a witness and a mental health assessment to ensure the patient is capable of making medical decisions for themselves.

“The Department of Health has made it a priority to inform healthcare providers about their role and responsibilities under the law because, ultimately, patients will turn to their doctors first for information and questions as well as requests for aid-in-dying prescriptions,” said Lorrin Kim, Chief, Office of Planning, Policy and Program Development.

The DOH is urging interested patients to begin conversations with their healthcare providers as early as possible, especially during this early stage of the legislation, to concurrently explore supportive services provided by hospice care.

The health department also encouraged medical providers to familiarize themselves with the terms and requirements of the new law.

The DOH also said that participating in the “Our Care, Our Choice Act” is strictly voluntary for healthcare providers; however, they urge all providers across the state to anticipate patient needs.

Hawaii joins six other states and Washington D.C. with aid-in-dying legislation.