Cancer patient leads push for medical aid in dying law in Hawaii

There’s a new effort to get a medical aid in dying law passed in Hawaii, led in part by a man diagnosed with terminal cancer.

It would give terminally ill adults with six months or less to live the option of obtaining a doctor’s prescription for medication they can decide to take if their suffering becomes unbearable, so they can die peacefully in their sleep.

John Radcliffe was diagnosed in 2014 with incurable colon cancer that has spread to his liver.

Hawaii law currently offers terminally ill people limited options — declining treatment, pain management, or voluntarily stopping eating and drinking.

Radcliffe wants to change that, and he’s working with the group Compassion and Choices Hawaii to do so.

“There’s a choice between dying at home in my own bed with my family around me or in a pretty hectic situation with a lot of people hammering on me, keeping me alive for no good reason. Yeah, that’s what we want to avoid,” he said.

A lawsuit has also been filed, but Radcliffe says the Legislature has an opportunity to act faster than the courts.

Medical aid in dying is currently authorized in six states: Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Montana, California, and Colorado.

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