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Hawaii's "Our Care Our Choice" bill would allow terminally ill patients to end their lives

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Passionate testimony at a hearing Tuesday for and against a controversial bill that would allow terminally ill patients to end their lives in Hawaii.

Dozens testified on HB 2739 at a joint hearing with the House Judiciary & Health & Human Services Committee.

“We need to stop criminalizing families who are trying to protect and care for their loved ones,” said Terry Hige, who supports the bill.

It’s called the Our Care, Our Choice Act, and after hours of testimony, decision making will take place Wednesday.

“In the year since I was here in the house on this legislation, a lot has happened to keep me alive,” said John Radcliffe, a terminally ill patient who supports the bill.

Doctors, nurses, caregivers, and religious groups also shared their thoughts on the controversial measure.

“It is heart wrenching to be in the position of having them and their families beg you for more medication but you can’t give it because because it’s only been 2 1/2 hours,” said Dave Cobb, a nurse who supports the bill.

Supporters of the bill believe patients should be allowed to die with dignity if the pain becomes too much.

Many opponents believe the measure is legalizing murder.

“As a physician, I promise to never send a patient to a place I can’t be with them and they can’t come back from,” said Dr. Thomas Cook, a psychiatrist against the bill.

Some opponents feel the choice goes against the doctor’s oath to do no harm.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that is what I feel about this bill,” said Dr. Peter Barcia, a physician against the bill.

Despite criticism, supporters who still believe dying with dignity is a human right.

“Medical aid in dying should be looked at in the frame of human rights and civil liberties,” said Dr. Ron Hart, a retired hospice executive.

Decision making is scheduled for 12 PM Wednesday.
 

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