13-Step Process to Obtain Medical Aid in Dying in California

  1. Patient makes an appointment with their doctor.
  2. Patient makes their first oral request for medical aid in dying. If doctor denies request, they must document the patient’s request the patient’s medical record.
  3. Patient is referred to a consulting physician for confirmation of diagnosis, prognosis and mental competence.
  4. Patient advised to inform family/next kin of the prescription request.
  5. Patient must wait at least 48 hours between oral requests.
  6. Attending physician evaluates the patient to determine their eligibility for medical aid in dying, namely, that the adult patient:
    1. Has a qualifying diagnosis and prognosis
    2. Has proof of state residency
    3. Is capable of making their own healthcare decisions (physicians may refer patient for mental health evaluation, as needed)
    4. Is making a voluntary request
    5. Is making an informed decision and has been notified of all end-of-life options
  7. Patient makes second oral request to the doctor.
  8. Patient given opportunity to rescind the prescription request.
  9. Patient finds two qualified witnesses to sign their written request.
  10. Patient signs written request and gives it to their doctor.
  11. Patient counseled to avoid taking the medication when alone or in a public place.
  12. Attending physician writes prescription.
  13. Pharmacist fills prescription. (This sometimes takes an additional 7-14 days)

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