A Berkeley doctor has launched a new practice that aims to offer aid-in-dying guidance for terminally ill patients under a new California law set to take effect next week. KQED News reports that Dr. Lonny Shavelson, an emergency room physician in the East Bay for many years, is looking ahead to the implementation of the End of Life Option Act which, with many conditions, allows a patient to decide to end his or her own life with the help of a doctor.
"This is a major change [that] very, very few people know anything about and how to do it,” Shavelson told the publication. "[It's] something that has to be done right.”
In addition to his 29 years as a doctor, Shavelson also wrote a book in 1995 titled A Chosen Death that focused on five terminally ill patients' decisions regarding whether or not to end their lives.
The new law requires that, for a doctor to assist in dying, the patient must have less than six months to live and be mentally competent. The law was passed in October of 2015, and makes California the fifth state to legalize aid-in-dying. According to KQED, the other states are Montana, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.