Today’s Topics: Nov. 29, 2020

1. Magic Mushrooms for Dying Patients (Right To Die news list – FEN)
2. Hospital maintains independence from religious affiliation(Right To Die news list – FEN)
3. Dutch codes of practice changed (Right To Die news list – FEN)
4. UK groups debate six month limit (Right To Die news list – FEN)
5. Thaddeus Pope explores variations among U.S. state laws(Right To Die news list – FEN)

Message: 1

New Legal Push Aims to Speed Magic Mushrooms to Dying Patients Kaiser Health News ( By JoNel Aleccia, Nov. 24, 2020

“…Dr. Sunil Aggarwal, a Seattle palliative care physician, and Kathryn Tucker, a lawyer who advocates on behalf of terminally ill patients and chairs a psychedelic practice group at Emerge Law Group, are championing a novel strategy that would make psilocybin available using state and federal “right-to-try” laws that allow terminally ill patients access to investigational drugs.

“…several U.S. cities and states have voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of psilocybin. This month, Oregon became the first state to legalize psilocybin for regulated use in treating intractable mental health problems. The first patients will have access beginning in January 2023.

“It’s part of a wider movement to rekindle acceptance of psilocybin, which was among psychedelic drugs vilified — and ultimately banned — after the legendary counterculture excesses of the 1960s and 1970s…

“End of Life Washington, a group focused on helping terminally ill patients use the state’s Death With Dignity Act, recently published a policy that supports psilocybin therapy as a form of palliative care. Other treatments for anxiety and depression, such as medication and counseling, may simply not be practical or effective at that point, said Judith Gordon, a psychologist and member of the group’s board of directors…”

Read more at:

Also republished in The Oregonian, Nov. 28, 2020 Psychedelic mushrooms at center of effort to help dying patients The Oregonian, Nov. 28, 2020

Message: 2

Memorial decides to go independent, will ‘unwind’ affiliation from Virginia Mason Yakima Herald-Republic By Mai Hoang, Nov. 2, 2020

A hospital takes an important step to maintain independence from religious dogma in hospital policy.

“Virginia Mason Memorial’s board of directors voted Wednesday to end the Yakima hospital’s affiliation with Seattle-based Virginia Mason and become an ‘independent, local health care system.’

“The local hospital board’s decision comes several months after the Virginia Mason Health System started exploring the possibility of joining with CHI Franciscan, a Catholic nonprofit health system….

“Advocates statewide also have raised concerns the merger will limit access to reproductive health care and Death with Dignity services. CHI Franciscan uses the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, which don’t allow physician-assisted death for terminally ill patients and abortion.

“Memorial’s decision was applauded by several statewide groups that have voiced concern about the merger’s impact on reproductive health care and Death with Dignity services. Among the groups co-signing in the statement were ACLU of Washington, NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, End of Life Washington, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Washington State, Cedar River Clinics, Compassion & Choices, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawai’I and Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho.”

Read more at:

Message: 3

Dutch euthanasia rules changed after acquittal in sedative case The Guardian By Daniel Boffey, Nov. 20, 2020

“Doctors euthanising a patient with severe dementia may slip a sedative into their food or drink if there are concerns they will become “disturbed, agitated or aggressive”, under a change to the codes of practice in the Netherlands.

This decision follows a supreme court ruling “that if a patient is no longer capable of giving assent, a doctor need not take a literal interpretation of an advance directive if the circumstances do not match the eventual scenario…”

Read more at:

Message: 4

Assisted dying: Campaigners leave Dignity in Dying over law change policy only for people with less than six months to live BMJ 2020 By Jacqui Wise, Nov. 5, 2020

“Miriam Day, orthopaedic surgeon and specialist in musculoskeletal trauma at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, was until recently the key campaigner in Cardiff’s Dignity in Dying group. She and nine others, of 12 active members, decided to leave Dignity in Dying after learning that its policy would not help people such as Paul Lamb, a man paralysed from the neck down. They have now joined the group My Death, My Decision (MDMD), which is calling for a broader change to the law to include terminally ill people and those with incurable suffering…”

Read abstract here:

Read about Dignity in Dying here:

Read about My Death, My Decision here:

Message: 5

Medical Aid in Dying: Key Variations Among U.S. State Laws Thaddeus Mason Pope

ABSTRACT: Medical aid in dying (MAID) is legal in eleven U.S. jurisdictions representing one-fourth of the U.S. population, but despite its legality, MAID is practically available to only a subset of qualified patients in these states. MAID’s eligibility requirements and procedural safeguards may impede a patient’s access. In response, state legislatures have begun to craft more flexible rules as they recalibrate the balance between safety and access. There is already significant variability among U.S. MAID statutes in terms of eligibility requirements, procedural conditions, and other mandates. While the Oregon Death with Dignity Act has served as the template for all subsequent MAID statutes, the states have not copied the Oregon law exactly. Furthermore, this nonconformity grows as states continue to engage in an earnest and profound debate about the practicality of MAID.

Thaddeus Mason Pope, Medical Aid in Dying: Key Variations Among U.S. State Laws, J. Health and Life Sci. L., Oct. 2020, at 25. (c) American Health Law Association, journal. All rights reserved.