March 1, 2021
This Issue's Contents

Sign the Petition!
Why are we Afraid of 'The Conversation?'

Make your Voice Heard: a Volunteer Call to Action
Upcoming Events "Would You Say Yes?"

News Around the US... 

Video: Award winning "Bob's Choice"


Help establish a compassionate end-of-life option for the terminally-ill in Arizona

Add your name to the growing list of supporters in favor of legalizing Medical Aid in Dying in our state. It will be presented to the legislature before next year's bill.
Click here to Sign our Petition!
Why are we Afraid of 'The Conversation?'
by Stu Burge, former Communications & Marketing Lead at Arizona End of Life Options
Remember when you were a kid and one or both of your parents sat you down to have “The Conversation?” That dreaded birds and bees talk.  Or maybe you have had “the conversation” with your own children. Either way, most people find the event a bit tense for all concerned. However, if the talk is conducted honestly, using age-appropriate language, the result is likely to be a closer, more trusting relationship that can lay the groundwork for years of healthy exchanges.

Now think about the other end of life’s continuum – the winter of our days. The inescapable prospect of death. That should be the subject of the “other” conversation, which so often never takes place because most of us find it even more difficult to talk about than the birds and the bees. Doesn’t it seem odd that we in Western cultures do our best to ignore the obvious? Heck, as children, we learn that all living organisms are created, flourish and eventually die. No matter if it’s a flower, a goldfish, or lovable old grandma, we all end our journey in the exact same way. We accept the facts but spend most of our time acting as if death is something that only happens to other people.

Recently, I have been thinking more and more about death. Not because I’m in a hurry to die, but because I am 76 years old and afflicted with chronic neurological and cardiovascular conditions caused by exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. I am classified as 100% disabled by the Veterans Administration and my doctors say my health issues are undoubtedly reducing my life expectancy. So I have had “the conversation” with my family and also completed my Advance Directive and related “check-out” documents.

Am I afraid to die? Heck no. Considering some of the dumb things I’ve done, I’m lucky to still be here.
But there is one thing that scares the bejesus out of me, and that is the thought of passing away in a state (like Arizona) that hasn’t yet passed a medical aid-in-dying law. Nine other states and the District of Columbia already have statutes in place that give terminally ill residents the opportunity to qualify for a thoughtful, non-traumatic death with dignity style passing. When my docs advise me that the end is approaching, I insist on leaving this world quietly, peacefully and in the company of people I love. Protracted medical interventions to help me “fight another day” are unwelcome, thank you very much.

But I am afraid that the Arizona legislature is going to continue its senseless refusal to consider a medical aid in dying (MAID) law for the state. Virtually every year since 2002, bipartisan bills proposing a time-tested aid-in-dying law have been introduced in the Arizona statehouse only to be passed over in committee and swept under the rug, never to receive serious, informed consideration. For an ever-growing cadre of Arizona voters this inaction is unconscionable and needs to be stopped in its tracks.

To me, and thousands of others like me, the freedom to evaluate and make choices about how we want to die is an inviolable human right that is too important to be left to the whims of politicians.
Make Your Voice Heard: a Volunteer Call to Action
by Sandy Wester
We all heard that rallying cry during the past few months, with regard to exercising your right to to vote. But, do you know that your voice needs to be heard in many other ways? As we get older, things in our lives change, much as we hate to admit it. Our opinions change, our health may decline and our families may not always agree with how we view certain topics.

One of these topics is end-of-life issues. Not everyone is comfortable discussing death and dying, but let's face it. We all will die, sometime. And, if you have the discussion now, your loved ones will know your wishes, and hopefully, abide by the decisions you make.

Maybe you have had the experience of being with someone as they neared the end of their life. And maybe it was a peaceful death, what we call a "good death." But maybe it wasn't. When we are faced with a ravaging, terminal disease, I think most of us want the right to choose how and when we die.

All across this country, there are many states that have enacted legislation that gives their residents the right-to-die. Arizona has not. Yet. Our volunteers at Arizona End of Life Options have been active in getting this issue before the legislators and are looking forward to the day that there will be a vote before them. As of yet, the Arizona legislature has not been willing to even discuss the issue and it is for that reason I am asking all of you to consider writing either a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, or an op-ed article explaining why this law is necessary. Your opinions are important and your support is critical. A letter need not be long, nor does it need to be perfectly worded. We have people who can help with light editing and proof-reading. We just need YOU to help get the word out! And, an op-ed (short for opposite the editorial page), is usually longer in length (600 to 800 words) and may seem daunting to some, but it is an exciting way to share ideas.

Since you are reading this in our newsletter, you are already part of our AZELO family. so, make your voice heard, get those letters and op-eds written! We'll get our MAID law passed soon.

Please forward a copy of your letter to Sandy at:
Upcoming Events
Are you a physician, nurse, social worker or pharmacist?
Would You Say Yes?
A town hall event for medical professionals; coming in March 2021

Medical Aid in Dying is not yet law in Arizona, but we estimate it could be in 2-3 years. Therefore, we need to begin preparing now. We will need doctors who will be willing to be the attending and consulting physicians, compounding pharmacies to prepare the medicine, and nurses and social workers well versed in the facts of how the law works.

Would You Say Yes? is a webinar for healthcare professions and refers to the following three important questions:
  1. If you were faced with a six-month terminal illness, relentless pain and a poor quality of life, and MAID was legal, would you consider using the law?
  2. If one of your friends or family members were eligible for the law, would you support their decision?
  3. If one of your patients or clients asked you to assist them in utilizing the law, would you say yes?
Yes, I May be Interested, Please Send Further Information!
News Around the US...

In NEW MEXICO, HB 47 - The Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act was approved by their House of Representatives by a vote of 39 to 27 and is now on it way to the Senate.


On Feb 25, the Washington State House of Representatives approved HB1141 to increase access to the Death with Dignity Act by a 60-37 vote. 

HB 1141 allows:

  • advanced practice registered nurses or physician assistants to act as either the attending or consulting medical provider for individuals who want to access the Death with Dignity Act. A physician would still have to be one of the other two providers in either case. 
  • reduces the waiting period from 15 days to 72 hours, and allows the attending and consulting providers to waive the waiting period if the terminally ill individual’s death is imminent. 
  • modernizes the rules around how and when individuals can obtain their aid-in-dying prescription from a pharmacy.

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.

On February 11, 2021 the bill passed out of the Senate Healthcare Committee with a 4-1 vote. On February 25, 2021 the bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 4-3 vote. 

Other February MAID Bill Submissions:
Kentucky: Rep. Josie Raymond, D-Louisville introduced House Bill 506.
Minnesota: A proposal was introduced with Sen. Chris Eaton, co-sponsoring.
Connecticut: House Bill 6425
Massachusetts: Bill re-introduced; co-sponsored by State Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton.

Bob’s Choice: Why a Seattle man chose death with dignity

Arizona End-of-Life Options
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