Earlier this week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the controversial "End of Life Option Act," which will take effect in 2016 and allow medically assisted suicide in the state. The news was the topic of KQED's Forum yesterday, and Stanford bioethicist David Magnus, PhD, was one of the featured guests.
Magnus noted that the law is likely to affect a very small percentage of the population, and he thinks the debate surrounding it "reflects a much, much deeper problem in how we deal with communication and care at end of life. This isn't really going to solve that problem..." Another show guest, Toni Broaddus, California campaign director of Compassion & Choices, agreed that more conversation between doctors and patients is needed, but said this can help: "We hope that what part of this law does, in addition to providing relief from those who need it at the end of life [is] create the room and the opportunity for doctors to talk with their dying patients about all of the options..."
The entire conversation is worth a listen.
Previously: How would you like to die? Tell your doctor in a letter, Study: Doctors would choose less aggressive end-of-life care for themselves, Stanford experts weigh in on spate of "right to try" laws for the terminally ill, On a mission to transform end-of-life care and The importance of patient/doctor end-of-life discussions