A half-dozen patients already prescribed lethal doses

Published On: Mar 20 2013 08:05:00 PM HST

"One, two, three, four, five, six, seven," counted Brad Kaiwi Lum.

He is counting his daily intake of medication.

Lum has been living with HIV for nearly 20 years.

Two years ago, he had a major setback that sent him close to death.

"You come to a point where you say I've done everything I can. I've made peace with myself," he said.

Lum said he realized the choice to die was a choice he wanted to have.

"I didn't even have a say. I want to make sure that that doesn't happen to me ever again," he told KITV reporter Lara Yamada.

"It was a very moving experience actually," said retired Oncologist Dr. Chuck Miller.

He is a founding member of the Physicians Advisory Council for Aid in Dying which is partnering with the national organization called Compassion & Choices.

For the first time, in February, he prescribed a terminally-ill cancer patient a prescription to end her life.

"All we're offering is simply another choice," he said.

Compassion and Choices believes Aid in Dying is indeed legal in Hawaii.

On Wednesday, they put their money where their mouth is, with, for the first time in Hawaii, a full-page, color ad in the newspaper.

"It's the first time I've seen the ad," said one woman at Ala Moana Beach Park.

"I think you should have your right," said Wayne Kaya.

"I think I would leave that decision up to my family," said Michael Miasato.

"Certainly people have different views on this," said Hawaii Attorney General David Louie.

Advocates believe the way Hawaii's laws are written allow Aid in Dying.

But Louie maintains, prescribing that lethal dose is not only illegal, but a crime he plans to prosecute.

"Other states have allowed this and the state experiment is still continuing, but in Hawaii that has not passed. In Hawaii it is still illegal," he said.

"It's not suicide when a competent patient, who's going to die in six months anyway, says you know, I'm going to do this my way," said Miller.

"Right now, I want to be as healthy as I can," said Lum.

He is just one more, now engaged in the debate, as the controversy over how to live and how to die continues to grow.

"Are you prepared? Are you really, really prepared for that," he said.

Miller said he follows a very specific set of parameters similar to Oregon's Assisted Suicide law.

As of March 2013, 41 patients in Hawaii have asked for an evaluation, 17 have qualified, and Miller said a total of six have been prescribed medication, though none have died from that dose.

He told KITV4 the attorney general's office has yet to contact them with any concerns.


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