August 1, 2021
This Issue's Contents

Sign the Petition!
Call to Action: Join an AZELO Action Team!
Docs for Dignity

News Around the US: Vermont
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 842 e-petition signatures from advocates in Arizona. If you have already signed, thanks!  Click the button below and find the share option where you can email the petition to your friends and family members. This petition will be sent to the Arizona legislature before next year's bill is submitted and we want as many signatures as we can to make the greatest impact so spread the word!
Click here to Sign our Petition!
Call to Action!

We need you!
Join an Action Team Today!
The primary goal of Arizona End-of-Life Options is to work with the Arizona State Legislature to pass a Medical Aid in Dying law for Arizona residents. Integral to our success is building a strong network of advocates across the state voicing their support for MAID.

Action Team recruitment is underway. Our aim is to have 20 members in each Action Team, each team working within one of the 30 legislative districts in Arizona. That’s 600 MAID advocates across Arizona who are organized and ready to take action in 2022!

To take part in this movement, just click this link and write Action Team in the comment field. Action Team Volunteer

Join Us, Your Voice is Needed!!

Photo by Santiago Lacarta on Unsplash
Docs for Dignity
by Dr. Tom Fitch, Chair of AZELO's Docs for Dignity

The national Doctors for Dignity group is a community of physician volunteers from across the country who are speaking out and working to improve end-of-life care in this country.   We believe that patients with advancing serious illness should all be made aware of and helped to understand the full range of end-of-life care options available to them, including medical aid in dying (MAID). 
              Over the past 10 years, there has been increasing support for MAID on the part of the general public and physicians.  Well over 50% of both groups support MAID, which is now available in 10 states and the District of Columbia, available to more than 72 million people.
              According to Dr. Ryan Spielvogel, a family physician in Sacramento, CA, a recent survey of internal medicine residents found that 81% of them reported being somewhat or very interested in medical aid in dying training, while 74% reported feeling somewhat or very unprepared to provide this service. 34% of them reported that they would be somewhat or very likely to serve as consulting or primary physicians for aid in dying in the future.

“Considering that only about 1% of physicians in my large institution provide all of the aid in dying services,” Spielvogel goes on to say, “34% is a staggering number. However, the only way for that 34% on the survey to turn into 34% in practice is with adequate training. With it, that 34% would likely grow closer to the 81% who were interested in receiving the training. But without it, the 34% will dwindle to only those passionate enough about aid in dying to seek out the training themselves.”
              Arizona End of Life Options (AZELO) is organizing an Arizona Doctors for Dignity.  This group of volunteer physicians will learn the intricacies of a medical aid in dying law and assist in AZELO’s efforts to pass a MAID law in Arizona.  We will work to educate the public, our legislators, and our medical provider colleagues, and put the necessary infrastructure in place to implement MAID in Arizona once the law is passed.  Along the way, we will also do whatever we can to improve end-of-life care in Arizona. 
              If you have questions about AZELO’s Docs with Dignity, or about MAID in general, you can contact Dr. Fitch at (480) 414-0555 or


News Around the US: Vermont
by Mary Ganapol, AZELO Volunteer
In 2013, after a vigorous ten-year campaign, Vermont passed Act 39:  Vermont Patient Choice and Control at the End of Life Act, making Vermont the third state, after Oregon in 1997, and Washington in 2008 to legalize MAID, and the first state to do so through the legislative process.

Over the years, opposition in Vermont has been busy trying to add additional restrictions to Act 39, some of which have been far-reaching and all of which have been unsuccessful.  And there have been endorsements, too.  In 2017 the Vermont Medical Society passed a resolution that recognized Act 39 as a legal option.  They included this poignant description of the end of life: 

“(Patient’s) autonomy should be respected. Even when physicians use all the tools at hand to care for pain and suffering, a small number of patients still suffer. Each of these patients is unique; each one of the patients will challenge the caregiver's skills in the extreme; and each one's care should be highly individualized and decided in private amongst the patient, physician and family.”

In the current legislative session, S74 provides three minor amendments to Act 39.  The amendments adjust the Act in small ways to recognize the roadblocks in accessing and implementing MAID in Vermont:

1)  It allows telemedicine for the oral requests as terminally ill patients often have mobility difficulties,

2)  Adds “any person that acts in good faith compliance”, i.e. pharmacists, to the immunity that is already built into the law for doctors, and

3)  Eliminates a separate 48-hour waiting period after the required 15 days between two oral requests.  It was thought the extra 48 hours were unnecessary and burdensome prior to getting the prescription.

The amendment has been stalled in the Senate Health & Welfare Committee since February.  Hat’s off to Patient Choices Vermont (, the non-profit formed to fight for the MAID option for Vermonters and continues to advocate and safeguard Act 39. We will be watching Vermont as this amendment makes its way through the legislature. 

Listen to Karen's 5-minute personal story as she gives testimony as to why S74 contains important improvements to Vermont's existing law.

“In February 2018, symptoms became so severe that I went to the ER. Three months later, I was diagnosed with peritoneal carcinomatosis, a type of cancer extremely rare in someone my age. I was 33.” - Karen Oelschlaeger
Volunteer Corner

Kem's next open office will be on August 10th from 1:00 -3:00 pm, so put it on your calendar. This is your time to meet with AZELO leaders, and other AZELO volunteers and advocates. We always have the latest AZELO news and information, and our brainstorming discussions are a great place to generate and share ideas. Finally, in need of a supportive ear? We are like-minded folk who share a common concern: we all want to live well into old age and see the wisdom in planning a good death when that time comes. Talk with us, this is a necessary conversation to have!

Click here on August 10th between 1:00-3:00 to join Kem's Open Office

Want to learn about volunteering with AZELO? Click here:  Volunteer

Upcoming Events

Dr. Ronald Fischler 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 August 6th

Click Here to Donate to Arizona End-of-Life Options
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