How Can I Find A Doctor Nearby Who Will Prescribe Life-Ending Medications?

There are no lists of physicians who participate in physician-assisted dying laws, for both confidentiality and safety reasons. Doctor participation in the law is strictly voluntary.

You are more likely to find a participating physician in a non-faith-based hospital and in larger cities. End of Life Washington has compiled information about which activities each hospital in the state permits or restricts when a patient asks for assistance using their Act.

To find out if your doctor is willing to participate in the law, make an appointment with him or her to discuss your end-of-life goals and concerns, including the option available under the state’s Death with Dignity law. Ask any kind of doctor: your hospice doctor, or your oncologist, or pulmonologist, or neurologist, or even your dermatologist or psychiatrist. Any physician licensed to practice in a “Death with Dignity state” is allowed to participate if s/he agrees; the law also says every physician has the choice not to participate.

If the first physician says yes, ask them for a referral to another doctor who will participate or ask another of your (probably many) doctors if they will participate. Both physicians need to certify that you meet the criteria under the law. The first physician will be your attending physician for the law. He or she will guide you through all the requirements of the law and, if you qualify, will write the life-ending medication prescription for you. The second certifying doctor will be the consulting physician under the law who has to certify all the criteria under the law have been met.

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants, while they can treat your basic disease, are not allowed to act as licensed physicians for the law.

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