February 15, 2021
This Issue's Contents

Your Survey Results
Voluntary Stopping Eating and Drinking (VSED), an End-of-Life Alternative

Take the Quiz!
News Around the US...
Volunteer Call to Action
Answers from the Quiz
Upcoming Events
Your Survey Results 

We asked what Medical Aid in Dying issues are our readers most interested in, and here are the topics you identified as most popular in each area. 

Interest Form Results Received
from 1/15/21 to 1/22/21 from 
33 Respondents
77.4% Services for Physical End of Life Issues
(pain management / palliative care, Hospice, VSED)
67.7% Legal End of Life Care Planning
(Medical POA, Advance Directive, POLST)
48.8% Alternatives to MAID
(VSED, Final Exit, relocating)
70% What can go Wrong
and how to prevent bad outcomes
66.7% Physical End of Life Issues
(pain management / palliative care, Hospice, VSED)
56.7% What our Proposed Law Allows
and provides as your rights
42.1% Engaging with all Arizona oCmmunities
42.1% Communication with the Media
36.8% Basic Lobbying 
basic communication with legislators
Voluntary Stopping Eating and Drinking (VSED),
an End-of-Life Alternative

by Dwight Moore, Chair of Arizona End of Life Options
Sally Johnson lived a vibrant life as a watercolor artist, grandmother, traveler, and gardener until a stroke shattered her in her 86th year. During the initial months of rehab, she maintained an optimistic outlook, determined to recover and get back to her normal life. That never happened. While she was able to continue to live in her own home, she was not allowed to drive and she was not able to paint. With the help of her two daughters, she adapted to these new realities until she began experiencing spontaneous compression fractures in her back.

Because of the new injuries, Sally decided to move to independent living where she could walk to meals and participate in movie and card nights. She threw herself into activity, but experienced growing frustration because the other residents did not have the patience to try and understand her somewhat garbled speech, yet another confounding effect of the stroke. For five months she tried to adjust to this new environment, but became more and more isolated. As the pain in her back increased, she became progressively less willing to engage with the other residents, could not enjoy walking, her art, or even to laugh out loud. Her quality of life was reduced as she lost these abilities and interests.

Determined to end her own suffering, Sally called her daughter, an RN, and said she was going to stop eating and drinking. Her daughter urged her to seek help from the local hospice. She qualified for hospice and, with hospice’s help, was started on a mild dose of morphine. On a Thursday, she stopped all eating and drinking. Her daughter responded to her mother’s thirstiness and dry mouth, by keeping her lips moist with moisturizing salve and by putting a cold air humidifier in her room to help her breathe moist air. Yet she struggled and during the second day Sally said, “Dying is hell!” Her daughter requested more powerful morphine and lorazepam which kept her sedated for most of the day. The fourth day, she quieted a bit and seemed to welcome the presence of her grandchildren as they came to visit with her for the last time, expressing their love and saying goodbye. The next day, Sally lapsed into a coma, then died, surrounded by family. Her family bathed her body and put on a fresh gown, saying their final goodbyes.

As Arizona does not have a Medical Aid in Dying law in place, VSED is an alternative choice people can make when their bodies are compromised, when their quality of life is negligible, and when they feel they have lost autonomy and dignity. Often, people who choose VSED have exhausted the options of the medical profession e.g. chemotherapy, surgery, rehab, or choose not to live into the last stages of their debilitating disease, like ALS, MS, Parkinsons and Alzheimers. It is imperative that they have medical support, like hospice, caregivers, and a strong will, as maintaining resolve to use VSED can be difficult. is an excellent website which is full of great advice for what to expect with VSED as well as the physical, mental, and spiritual ways in which caregivers and family members can support the patient, and other resources.

We here at Arizona End of Life Options are enthusiastically advocating for passage of a medical-aid-in-dying law. MAID is a faster and more comfortable death than VSED, but both preserve the dignity and choice of the patient.

Take the Quiz!

What 8 states have introduced medical aid-in-dying bills to their legislature so far this year? 

Answers are below.

News Around the US...

In WASHINGTON STATE, where its Death with Dignity Act has been in effect since 2008, a bipartisan bill in the state legislature, (HB 1141), expands the definition of attending or consulting medical providers to include advance practice nurses, shortens the waiting period and allows it to be waived in extreme circumstances, and modernizes the rules around obtaining the prescription from a pharmacy. On January 18, the Washington House Committee on Health Care & Wellness passed the bill by a vote of 8 to 4.

In HAWAII, an amendment (SB839 / HB487), to the Our Care, Our Choice Act, based on recommendations from the Hawai’i Department of Health, was introduced on January 22. It includes advanced practice registered nurses among the list of authorized providers of medical aid in dying, shortens the waiting period from 20 to 15 days and allows physicians to waive the waiting period for critically ill patients.

This week, a bill, (SB 380) was introduced in CALIFORNIA that would eliminate the 10-year sunset provision of the California End-of-Life Options Act and allow physicians to waive the 15-day waiting period if necessary. A 2018 study by Kaiser Permanente Southern California found that during the first year the law was in effect in California, 21% of terminally ill patients who requested medical aid in dying died or became too ill to ingest the medication before the 15-day waiting period had lapsed.

Volunteer Call to Action
 Whit Johnson, AZELO's very busy webinar host, volunteers to be in the newsletter.                   
...but Believe in the Cause?

Do you enjoy searching the Internet? Would you be willing to do research for our AZELO campaign? We are in need of researchers to assist us. Please contact Marie MacWhyte, Digital Marketing Lead (360) 306-1532 phone or text, or if you would be willing to contribute a few hours of your time each week for the next four weeks. 

Answers from the Quiz

So far in 2021, Medical aid-in-dying legislation has been introduced in EIGHT states: 
New Mexico
New York
North Dakota
Upcoming Events

If you haven't already, register for our live webinar on zoom about the Six Choices at the End of Life. Other recorded webinars are also available on the webinar page of the AZELO website at 
Arizona End-of-Life Options
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