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Should Patients Diagnosed With Alzheimer’s Or Dementia Be Able To Choose Assisted Suicide?




Youssef Cohen rides to a doctor's appointment with his wife Lindsay Wright on March 16, 2016 in New York City.
Youssef Cohen rides to a doctor's appointment with his wife Lindsay Wright on March 16, 2016 in New York City.
John Moore/Getty Images

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A recent op-ed in the L.A. Times titled, “My friend has dementia and wants to end her life. California’s assisted-suicide law excludes her,” shines a light on the complexitites of expanding the state’s law beyond patients with a cancer diagnosis or terminal illness.

The law, passed in 2015 and modeled after a 1997 Oregon statute, allows physicians to give lethal drugs to mentally competent adults when they’re faced with a terminal illness and are expected to die within six months. Even as the law stands currently, medical experts and others are divided over the issue. And some worry expanding the law to those with memory deteriorating illnesses could put those patients at risk of increased pressure.

Today on AirTalk, we discuss the idea of expanding California’s law and what it could mean for patients and their loved ones. Have you been impacted by Alzheimer’s or Dementia in some way? What do you think about the idea? We want to hear your thoughts. Join the conversation by calling 866-893-5722.

With guest host John Rabe

Guests:

Josh Bloom, the director of chemical and pharmaceutical sciences at the American Council on Science and Health, a consumer advocacy group and non profit that promotes evidence-based science and medicine; he tweets @JoshBloomACSH

Thaddeus Pope, bioethicist and director of the Health Law Institute at Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minn.; he tweets @ThaddeusPope