Physician Aid in Dying
This information about California's End of Life Option Act (EOLA) and the physician aid in dying (AID) process is provided to help UC San Diego Health patients and their loved ones understand how this law works.
End of Life Option Act
The End of Life Options Act (SB 128) went into effect on June 9, 2016. It allows California residents who are at least 18 years old and have a terminal illness with a life expectancy of 6 months or less to request a medication that will hasten their death.
This practice is also known as "death with dignity" or "physician (doctor) aid in dying." It is not the same as euthanasia, which involves a doctor actually administering drugs to end a patient's life. Euthanasia is not legal in the U.S.
People who wish to exercise this aid in dying option must maintain their decision-making capacity and must independently make this request to a physician. They also must be able to ingest the medication on their own.
Under this law, physician aid in dying (AID) is not considered suicide. Participation in this end-of-life option is voluntary for patients, doctors and staff.