May 1, 2021
This Issue's Contents

Sign the Petition!
Docs for Dignity
Arizona Update

News Around the US
Volunteer Corner

Upcoming Events
Donate to Arizona End-of-Life Options


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

As of today, we have 649 e-petition signatures from advocates in Arizona. If you haven't already, please 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!
Docs for Dignity
by Dwight Moore, PhD
Chair, Arizona End-of-Life Options
On Monday night, April 26th, Arizona’s Docs for
Dignity sponsored a lecture by Dr. Carol Parrot, a retired anesthesiologist who now works exclusively with Death with Dignity (DWD) patients across the State of Washington as a member of Washington’s Volunteer Retired Provider program. Over the past 8 years, Carol has cared for over 350 patients, as attending or consulting physician. In addition, she has been involved in developing and improving the drug combinations prescribed in every Medical Aid in Dying legal jurisdiction since 2016. She now collaborates with other frequent-prescribing physicians across the country to continue data analysis and Medical Aid in Dying drug regime refinements.

Dr. Tom Fitch is the project lead for Arizona End-of-Life Options' Docs for Dignity. This new committee will be vital in helping educate the public and other medical providers, influence legislators to pass the law, and then serve as attending or consulting physicians to eligible patients in Arizona. There is an involved process during which the attending physician evaluates whether a patient has a terminal illness with a prognosis of 6 months or less, is of sound mind, and is capable of self-administration of the medications. The consulting physician independently confirms the work of the attending physician. The attending physician then writes the prescription in close collaboration with a participating pharmacist.

On Monday, Dr. Parrot's presentation to the doctors reviewed the evolution of the medications used for Medical Aid in Dying and explained why changes have been made over the years. Initially, Pentobarbital then Seconal was used, but then European drug manufacturers raised the price of these drugs to an exorbitant amount in opposition to the US practice of capital punishment. A combination of digoxin, diazepam, morphine, and propranolol (DDMP) was subsequently developed for use by MAID patients, but studies revealed that in some cases the time to death extended to over 50 hours, clearly less than ideal.  Further research by Dr. Parrot in conjunction with Dr. Lonnie Shavelson has led to the current combination of digoxin, diazepam, morphine, amitriptyline, and phenobarbital (DDMAPh).  The average time to death with this regimen is 1.2 hours, with no time to death longer than 6 hours.   

Doctors are free to choose whether or not to participate in Medical Aid in Dying. Many do not participate, some participate for only their own patients, and others, like Dr. Parrot, volunteer their services to any patient who is eligible. Washington state, about the same size and population as Arizona, has 50 doctors who have helped periodically and another 10 like Dr. Parrot who are retired from their prior practice, and now volunteer full-time to care for patients pursuing Medical Aid in Dying.

What can you do to help? Talk to your docs. Ask them if they support medical aid in dying. Ask if they would like to participate in Arizona’s Docs for Dignity. Give them Dr. Fitch’s number (480 414-0555) and email ( if they have any questions or are interested in participating.

Arizona Update
By Leesa Stevens
Legislative Advocacy Lead
As we watch the progress of medical aid in dying bills across the nation this year, you may be wondering what is going on in our state of Arizona. Once again this year, Representative Powers-Hannley submitted a House MAID bill and Senators Gonzales and Peshlakai submitted a Senate MAID bill. Both bills died in their respective Health committees, never making it onto an agenda for discussion, typical of our past efforts. Although this is frustrating, there are lessons to be learned and opportunities still to be pursued.

Looking forward, and studying successes from states such as New Mexico (April 1st newsletter), we know how important education and relationship building needs to be with our legislators. So the Touch Plus campaign begins with the Legislative Advocacy team reaching out to legislators to start, or with some continue the conversation. This is an 18-month campaign to build trust, give factual information and discuss concerns. And yes, there is a role for volunteers, so stay tuned!
We start with a new Newsletter section highlighting the conversations we are having with supportive legislators … LEGISLATOR FOCUS

Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rios
Legislative District 27 West Phoenix
Senator Rios is a strong MAID Champion, having co-sponsored the 2020 MAID bills. She has served in both the House and Senate since 1995 and in leadership roles since 2006. She is quoted with the following about our issue …

“Death is natural. We all deserve the dignity to choose how to live and die.”
We look forward to continuing, and building, on our positive relationship with Senator Rios! 

News Around the US

Heart-breaking Loss in Connecticut

We were hoping to write about a success in Connecticut, but alas the bill (HB6425) was tabled in the Judiciary Committee April 20th.  The word repeated more than once by supporters:  heart-breaking.  The bill was sponsored by the Public Health Committee and had 27 co-sponsors. 

The bill passed the Joint Public Health Committee by a 24-9 vote.  During the hearing, the Committee Chair Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, was impressive:  knowledgeable about the nuances of the law, respectful in responding to each opposition comment and promising to work on any amendments.  Some members of the committee noted the fifteen hours of emotional testimony and debate prior to the vote.

Then it went to the Judiciary Committee where it was tabled as some thought there were not enough votes.  One of the co-sponsors and a member of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jason Doucette, was “extremely disappointed”.  And for him the bill was personal.  Here is an excerpt from his Facebook page:

I fully appreciate the sensitivity of this issue and I myself have struggled with it over the years. What changed it for me was the experience of my father Ed who, as you may know, passed away just a few weeks ago on March 16. He suffered tremendously through esophageal cancer and the after-effects of his unsuccessful surgeries and treatments. He lived in sometimes excruciating pain over the last 9-12 months of his life. He was home on hospice care for his final 3 months, but it was unfortunately a terribly painful experience for him and our family. I listened to him tell me probably dozens of times that he wanted the option to end this suffering.”

He ends his lengthy Facebook post by promising to sponsor the bill in Connecticut until it is passed.  Our heart goes out to Rep. Doucette for the loss of his father.  While the analogy of a marathon Vs. a sprint is getting old, we continue to stay in the race.

Volunteer Corner
With Kem Ellis, Volunteer Coordinator

We are pleased to announce Leesa Stevens, legislative advocacy lead for AZELO will join us from 10:00 to 11:00 during our May 7th office hours. A special invitation goes out to anyone who has volunteered to speak or tell their story to their legislator via a summer or fall ZOOM call. Join us on the call for more information and discussion on all things legislative. We look forward to seeing you!

Here's your invitation:
Kem's Open Office Drop in between 10 - 12 on May 7th  

Screenshot of a previous Open Office

To find out more about volunteering with AZELO, click on this link: Volunteer Info


Upcoming Events

Dr Tom Fitch, a retired Oncology & Palliative Care specialist will present the six choices we all have at the end of our lives including Medical Aid in Dying in those states where it is legal. Come with your questions and comments about end-of-life issues

Click here to register. Your zoom link will be emailed to you:

Six Choices Webinar on May 7th

Click Here to Donate to Arizona End-of-Life Options
Arizona End-of-Life Options
Copyright © 2021 Arizona End-of-Life Options, All rights reserved.