Dying at home can be traumatic for loved ones. We long for a peaceful walk into a beautiful sunset. But most have never seen anyone die and that first indelible experience will stick with us. We may wish to die in our sleep, suffer an accident where we “never knew what happened” or drop dead while enjoying a favorite activity. But the odds are even — just as many people suffer and fight death to the last breath. Loved ones who witness such death throes simply don’t talk about it.
We have a right to say “enough is enough” when it comes to medical care, including the use of respirators and tube feeding. We also have the right to name who will speak for us when we cannot speak for ourselves. Having a clear and comprehensive advance health care directive is only way to be sure that your wishes will be known and carried out.
In January 1, 2019, Hawai‘i became just the seventh state in the US to permit medical aid in dying. The Our Care, Our Choice (OCOCA) law allows terminally ill adult patients with capacity to make medical decisions to be prescribed an aid-in-dying medication if all the requirements are met.