Colorado Community

Colorado’s Medical Aid in Dying Law Quietly Under Way

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
07/11/17  1:05 PM PST
Medical Aid in Dying

By Joey Bunch, ColoradoPolitics.com, originally published on The Gazette

A song beckons in Patti James’ steady and dignified voice, a calming and sunny tone that encourages a long chat. Almost everyone knows someone like Patti.

The 81-year-old from Littleton who makes others feel better has stage 4 lung cancer, which she has fought for 11 years, leaving scar tissue that can’t take any more radiation.

“I’ve had a long run with it,” she said with no self-pity on a warm June evening.

Her choice to live or die, when the time is right, will be a personal and private one, as it should be for anyone, she said.

During the drive to pass Proposition 106 in Colorado last year, Patti was a “full-force” campaigner, as she described it, to give mentally competent, terminally ill adults the option to say their goodbyes, take an overpowering sedative and wait as their brain and nervous system slow to stop.

“We met so many people begging us to get this passed,” Patti said, including her husband, Arlo. “Not just sick people, but people who want to have this option available if they ever needed it.”

About 10 people have filled the prescription in Colorado since the law took effect in December. That’s the best guess by an advocacy organization, but no one is certain how many have taken it.

Sixty-five percent of Colorado voters supported Proposition 106 on Election Day.

Usually something that popular never makes it to the ballot. The Legislature will address it and hold news conferences afterward to take credit.

But in their two previous sessions, Colorado legislators did not allow a floor debate on any of three bills to legalize aid in dying. Both parties, at least tacitly, avoided a politically tough decision on the issue.

Patti knows her decision is unavoidable now that the law has changed.

Read the Full Article at The Gazette


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