SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Dan Diaz told lawmakers it never gets easier to talk about.
But three years since his wife Brittany Maynard moved to Oregon to end her suffering from terminal brain cancer, his fight in California isn’t quite done.
Diaz returned to the Capitol, with pictures of Brittany on the day they got married.
He says it’s to remind people of the woman who inspired the state’s “death with dignity” legislation.
The recent law faces new challenges, over access.
“Patients finding they’re having a difficult time, getting access to physicians or to the medication,” he said.
Since the law was implemented a year ago, doctors estimate they’ve written more than 500 lethal prescriptions. But they say many patients can’t pay for the medicine, due to price-gouging.
“It’s available, but it’s now extremely costly. It can cost a person $3,000 to 4,000 for a prescription, for the 100 capsules,” said UC San Diego Doctor Lynette Cederquist.
Cederquist offers patients a cheaper alternative.
“A cocktail of medications that can be made up through a compounding pharmacy into a drinkable slurry,” she explained.
That drug slurry costs $500, 85 percent less than the $4,000 pill dose.
But only one pharmacy in San Diego makes it. Plus, there are religious-based hospitals that don’t offer either medication and don’t plan to.
“We feel that there needs to be more education and training,” said Lori Dangberg of the Alliance of Catholic Healthcare.
Dangberg represents California’s Catholic hospitals. They want the state to require training for physicians on end of life care, not right to die prescriptions.
“We need to be providing those services that they feel and their family feels supported from the diagnosis of their illness all the way through their journey,” she said.
For Dan and his wife Brittany, that journey involved an option.
Even if it meant moving to Oregon to end Brittany’s suffering.
“It allowed Brittany to focus on living life,” he said.