NEWS MEDIA ADVISORY FOR: Wednesday, October 5, 2011

CONTACT: Scott Foster, 808/988-0555;;

Steve Hopcraft, 916/457-5546, mobile 916/956-4592;

Can Hawaii Physicians Already Provide Death with Dignity?
Expert Panel to Discuss


HONOLULU - Compassion & Choices, the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization working to improve care and expand choice at the end of life, and the Hawai’i Death With Dignity Society (HDWDS), a local organization with concurrent goals, today announced an October 5, 2011, panel discussion on aid in dying by a group of experts on Hawaiian law, medicine, elder care, legislative and end-of-life issues. The panel will consider whether Hawaii physicians may provide aid in dying subject to professional scope of practice. A careful review of Hawaii’s existing statutes suggests physicians may already be able to provide such interventions without fear of criminal sanction.


“Most medical care is governed by professional scope of practice standards,” said Compassion & Choices Director of Legal Affairs Kathryn Tucker. “These standards accept other life-ending practices such as withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, voluntarily stopping eating and drinking and palliative sedation. Hawaii law empowers patients to make autonomous decisions regarding their end-of-life care. And a provision in a 1909 law unique to Hawaii law gives terminally ill patients significant freedom of choice to determine their course of medical care at the end of life, and protection to physicians who provide care.”


         When:        Wednesday, October 5th, 12:00 – 2:00 pm at the Hawaii State Capitol, Main Auditorium

         Who:          Professor Kathryn Tucker, JD, Director of Legal Affairs,
Compassion & Choices; lead counsel for aid in dying cases before
the Supreme Court
Representative Blake Oshiro, Hawaii House Majority Leader, Chair panelist
Former State Representative Ernest “Juggie” Heen
Robert “Nate” Nathanson, MD, a founder of Hospice Hawaii
Dante Carpenter, Chair, Democratic Party of Hawaii
Former State Representative Eve Anderson
Mitch Burns, attorney of elder law
Laura Thompson, Hawaii community volunteer
Pam Lichty, MPH, Board Member, ACLU of Hawaii

                           Robert Orfali, author of Death with Dignity
Scott Foster, co-founder of The Hawai`i Death With Dignity Society

All of the experts assembled at the Capitol for the panel will be available for interviews from 2:00-4:00 pm in a private room next to the Auditorium following the discussion. To interview Kathryn Tucker or any of the other panelists, please contact Steve Hopcraft or Scott Foster at the above phone or email. For more information please visit or