News Release Honolulu, HI (PRWEB) October 12, 2011
“It appears that for the last 100 years Hawaii was a prohibition-free state, but we didn’t know,” says Robert Orfali, author of the Kirkus-starred book Death with Dignity.
In early October, a conference titled "Is Physician-Assisted Dying Already Legal in Hawaii?” was held in Hawaii’s State Capitol. (Suicide activist) Kathryn Tucker of U.S. Supreme Court fame argued that it was already legal. A ten-person panel (of suicide activists) agreed. Tucker's arguments were based on a constellation of laws—including one that was passed in 1909 to help people with leprosy die with dignity. She rediscovered that ancient law, and it now appears that Hawaii was the first state to pass a death with dignity act. Panel member and author of Death with Dignity Robert Orfali says, “My wife Jeri was not aware of this law when she died from ovarian cancer in 2009: the prescription was not an option for her. Today, patients in Hawaii who are in Jeri's situation will be able to openly ask their doctors for a prescription.”
According to Orfali, “Based on the Oregon experience, just asking for the prescription will trigger a final palliative conversation between patients and their doctors. They will use the conversation to discuss death more openly. Doctors will try to deal with patients' fears and needs. Patients will be referred to hospice much sooner.” Orfali believes that the prescription will raise the bar for the standards of pain management and palliative care. “Hopefully, Hawaii will follow in Oregon's footsteps and become a leader in palliative care. As in Oregon, the standards may improve to the point where very few patients choose to self-sedate. Having this extra option will have a huge impact, all good, on how palliative care is delivered in Hawaii.”
What’s next? “I expect Compassion and Choices of Hawaii to work with our physicians on a set of Oregon-like safeguards.” says Orfali. “The idea is to make the safeguards part of the medical standard of care in Hawaii. Because assisted dying is legal, it won't be a clandestine practice any longer. Physicians will be able to openly discuss the best practices. Over the last 14 years, the state of Oregon served as our nation's lab for developing these practices. Today, they can easily be cloned in any state where the prohibition is lifted. Hawaii is a prohibition-free state.”
read … Death With Dignity: Is Hawaii the Fourth State?
Related: Activists: Assisted Suicide Legal under 1909 Hawaii Law
Reality: 1909 Law Does Not Allow Assisted Suicide