The Death with Dignity Act is also known by some as Right to Die Act. It gives a patient who is terminally ill the right to seek assistance from a medical doctor to die. The Washington state act builds in requirements and safeguards, as follows:
The patient must be an adult (18 or over) resident
of the state of Washington
The patient must be mentally competent, verified by two physicians (or referred to a mental health evaluation)
The patient must be terminally ill with less than 6 months to live, verified by two physicians.
The patient must make voluntary requests, without coercion
, verified by two physicians
The patient must be informed of all other options including palliative
and hospice care
There is a 15 day waiting period between the first oral request and a written request
There is a 48 hour waiting period between the written request and the writing of the prescription
The written request must be signed by two independent witnesses, at least one of whom is not related to the patient or employed by the health care facility
The patient is encouraged to discuss with family (not required because of confidentiality laws)
The patient may change their mind at any time and rescind the request
The attending physician may sign the patient's death certificate which must list the underlying terminal disease as the cause of death.