Preserving end-of-life dignity made harder when facilities don’t respect wishes

The law is one thing and its implementation another. That is the unfortunate reality facing those with terminal illnesses looking to aid-in-dying laws as a remedy when their suffering outweighs the will to go on.

According to a recent news story, Dr. Lonny Shavelson of San Francisco’s Bay Area End of Life Options found that, after contacting over 200 terminally ill people, many health care providers declined to provide the services legalized by California’s state’s End Of Life Options Act.

Dr. Shaveson, who has assisted over two dozen people through dying process, says, “Lack of access is much more profound than anyone is talking about”.

Shockingly, in all six states that allow assisted dying, it is still not an option available through all hospitals, health care systems and doctors. Much of this resistance comes from faith-based organizations claiming conflicts with their mandates.

As goes California, so to does Colorado and Oregon. Both states report similar findings regarding access to assisted dying services.

My takeaway from this is unsettling. Although Illinois does not have an assisted-dying law as of yet, even if it did there is no guarantee that the access would be any better than in the jurisdictions that already allow this option.

When we work with our clients at Generation Law on estate planning and setting up powers of attorney  we take it as a point of pride to preserve as much dignity as possible when it comes to options for end of life planning.

Knowing that these wishes may be disregarded should come as a wake up call and a reminder to all when it comes to choosing care options.

To discuss end of life plans or update your existing ones, please get in touch.