End of Life Act Overturned

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By Sarada Lewis, RN, BSN, PHN, CHPN

In case you were not aware, there is a judge named Daniel Ottolia, in Riverside last week whom decided to overturn the End Of Life Option Act for California.

He decided in a case that the law was invalid. Even though we the people voted it in at the ballot box! As many of you know I specialize in hospice and palliative nursing, and this ruling really is WRONG. My patients now don't have an option to end their lives if they choose to do so in a dignified way, the compassionate choice to use Aid in Dying meds are now illegal. Patients are being told they cannot use these meds throughout California. Shame on this Judge Daniel Ottolia from Riverside.

Patients whom are currently on hospice, and already have these meds in the home, are not allowed to use them it's considered illegal. I mean, come on, what else can we do in this political age to beat down even further the downtrodden? There answer to this has occurred, to pull the rug of "choice" out from under the feet of our dying population.

I am going to provide the contact information for this judge and encourage you to write the executive office that oversees him a letter of public comment.

Riverside Courthouse
Executive Office- Presiding Judge
4050 Main Street
Riverside, CA 92501

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PitMix May 30, 2018 11:49 AM
End of Life Act Overturned

I guess we can begin to change our residencies to Oregon again because they don't have idiot judges there to invalidate laws on technicalities. I took care of a hospice dog with a tumor once. When the tumor burst, I gave him a bunch of opiods and got him into the vet the next morning. He passed away surrounded by people that loved him and with tidbits of Chicken Ranch tri-tip next to him. It seemed a very compassionate ending, and I hope someday to have the same for myself. It would be nice if it could be in California.

Channelfog May 30, 2018 01:13 PM
End of Life Act Overturned

This court decision is a travesty of humanity and compassion. We grant our pets a humane end of life and yet deny this to the loved ones in our lives who suffer great pain daily and have no hope of living another joyful day. Last year my suffering 89 year old father in law put a 22 cal bullet in his brain to end such suffering. He deserved a more dignified option.

Potif May 30, 2018 02:55 PM
End of Life Act Overturned

I'm sorry your father had to suffer so much, and that he had to choose his own way around the laws. That must have been awful for everyone.

a-1527715939 May 30, 2018 02:32 PM
End of Life Act Overturned

I am currently watching my 96 year old mother deteriorate from Alzheimer's. It is cruel.

I recognize that legally this issue is dicey and potentially fraught with improper use. But I agree with another poster that we are way more humane to our beloved pets when the time comes, and there needs to be a similar option for suffering humans.

Potif May 30, 2018 03:34 PM
End of Life Act Overturned

That has to be, in my mind, one of the worst diseases we have with us. I am so sorry for her, you, and family and friends, that you are dealing with it. And I agree with your thoughts.

Potif May 30, 2018 03:29 PM
End of Life Act Overturned

My Mother once said to me after we had made the decision for our mini poodle to be euthanized as he was suffering from kidney failure, with no chance of improvement, simply, "We are much kinder to our animals..."

I have never forgotten that. I too worked with Hospice as a nurse, and her words were always with me as I saw people suffering, and just wanting to die. Wishing I could do more, but doing my best to at least see they were as comfortable as they could be.

The day before my Mother died in a nursing home, at 94, I realized that she could no longer do the things that had brought her joy. She seemed sad, but resolved to 'stick around'. She couldn't hear well, and with tears welling up, I wrote her a note... "David and I love you so very much, and will miss you terribly. But if you need to move on, we will be okay." She nodded her head to acknowledge the note.

The next night on Memorial Day, she somehow aspirated, and had fluid go into her lungs. She was comatose for several hours, and I was allowed to stay with her long past visiting hours. I read a book, talked with her, and stroked her arm, and finally... she moved on. I had the 'power' to have her taken to the hospital and have extraordinary measures to save her... but thankfully those words she said so well 50 years before had helped and allowed me to write that note, and to not put her through any additional suffering. Which in her case, thankfully, was not pain, but would have been a loss of what for her was a joyful life as an artist, and just being able to go out with friends. She had become unable to even hold a pen and write, much less paint. That she died on Memorial Day, also seemed fitting for a Navy wife, mother, and grandmother. Still miss her, but she had helped me through that night 50 years earlier... and it probably helped me write her that note, so she could also have some peace in 'leaving' this part of her life. I still have the 'note'...

And, yes, "We are kinder to our animals..."

Channelfog May 31, 2018 04:47 AM
End of Life Act Overturned

Potif, Thank you for sharing this difficult time in your lives. It leaves me with few words and wet eyes.

Potif May 31, 2018 10:51 AM
End of Life Act Overturned

ChannelFog - Thank you so much. I admit, my eyes teared up as I wrote it. But, thinking of my Mother, also brings good memories, and smiles too. I know she's happier now, and I'm pretty sure watching over me... While she paints and chats with old friends and family. Maybe playing some Bridge, as well

Potif May 31, 2018 10:53 AM
End of Life Act Overturned

ChannelFog - Thank you so much. I admit, my eyes teared up as I wrote it. But, thinking of my Mother, also brings good memories, and smiles too. I know she's happier now, and I'm pretty sure watching over me... While she paints and chats with old friends and family. Maybe playing some Bridge, as well ;)

420722 May 30, 2018 04:41 PM
End of Life Act Overturned

This is sad, I know two people that blew their brains when they started getting Alzheimer’s real bad. It’s pure torture what we put terminally ill senior citizens through. Hopefully by the time I’m old we will have become humane.

a-1527729242 May 30, 2018 06:14 PM
End of Life Act Overturned

In a statement emailed to The Times, California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said: "We strongly disagree with this ruling and the state is seeking expedited review in the Court of Appeal."

Our State Attorney General is going to appeal the judgment and very soon. If you want to write to someone, I would suggest sending a tweet of support to the AG.----------------------

Xavier Becerra (@AGBecerra) | Twitter----------------- (Honestly, I couldn't find a direct email for the AG.) Just tweet @AGBecerra

a-1527735327 May 30, 2018 07:55 PM
End of Life Act Overturned

https://ballotpedia.org/Daniel_Ottolia. "Due to lack of opposition, this election will not appear on the ballot. Incumbent Daniel Ottolia is unopposed in the race for Riverside County Superior Court Office 9."
"Daniel A. Ottolia is a judge of the Superior Court of Riverside County in California. He was appointed to the court by Governor Schwarzenegger in May 2010. Ottolia is running for re-election in the primary election on June 5, 2018.---Biography--Ottolia received an undergraduate degree from the University of California Irvine and a law degree from Georgetown University. Prior to joining the court, Ottolia was a sole practitioner from 1995 to 2010. He was a partner with the firm Shafer, Hiskey and Ottolia from 1985 to 1995 and was a deputy district attorney for Riverside County at the beginning of his legal career."

SBZZ May 30, 2018 08:52 PM
End of Life Act Overturned

I am obviously no legal expert so please help me out - how can a single judge overturn a proposition voted in by a State majority? Maybe he can rule as such in his own court (erroneously perhaps), but have it mandated in the entire State? Something seems amiss. And I do not need any help to say screw you judge Ottolia!

Potif May 31, 2018 10:40 AM
End of Life Act Overturned

He may have 'decided' it didn't follow something in the Constitution, in his mind, and made the ruling based on that. I have no idea what he could have actually based it on... or maybe he wanted his name to be in the news. He has only caused a lot of grief for many. However, if someone already has the medications, and they take it, and pass on... What is the law going to do to them?

eainca May 31, 2018 06:53 AM
End of Life Act Overturned

I do not like the ruling however, remember that the ruling was in response to someone, or some organization, that wants the law removed for ??? reason(s). The judge ruled that the information presented was sufficient.

a-1527780762 May 31, 2018 08:32 AM
End of Life Act Overturned

Office of the Attorney General,300 South Spring Street,Los Angeles, CA 90013-1230, Phone: (213) 269-6000.----Office of the Attorney General, 1300 "I" Street,Sacramento, CA 95814-2919, Phone: (916) 445-9555.

Concerned4Calif May 31, 2018 08:39 AM
End of Life Act Overturned

If a person takes their own life with a gun it is gun violence and must be stopped. If a person takes a their own life with a pill it is compassionate. I can imagine that a black market will develop for these pills ( as with every drug) and it will become the suicide tool of choice.

RHS May 31, 2018 08:47 AM
End of Life Act Overturned

This idea that we can simply attack a judge when we don't like her or his ruling is very Trumpian. As much as I disagree with this opinion I believe there are legal processes available to remedy the wrong. Let's not become a lynch mob.

jak May 31, 2018 08:57 AM
End of Life Act Overturned

This editorial makes some strong (and persuasive) philosophical arguments against the decision made by the court in this case but does not even scratch the surface of any of the legalities of the case, indeed it fails to mention even a single legal issue. Personally, while a may have a certain level of sympathy for the goals of this editorial I am appalled by the implications that courts should be making decisions based on philosophical concepts or personal ethical stances rather than on the actual law. I am also alarmed by the editorial call to harass the trial judge who in all likelihood was doing his job properly (even if the result was bothersome to the editorialist or unpopular in general).

PitMix May 31, 2018 11:19 AM
End of Life Act Overturned

The technicality that the judge gave his opinion on is this- is the right to die a health care issue that could be addressed in the special session? "Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ottolia ruled that the Legislature violated the state constitution by passing the 2015 law during a special session called to address emergency needs in the state’s health care system, not aid in dying. " It has been very popular so will be overturned or passed in a regular session.

buckwheat Jun 01, 2018 09:01 AM
End of Life Act Overturned

I have a very hard time understanding why certain people find it important to want those who have no chance of recovering to suffer needlessly!

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