"Years ago, families grew up, lived in a certain area for all their lives practically," he says. "And when there was an end-of-life experience, they were surrounded by friends, family that they had known forever that very much wanted to be a part of that remembrance, if you will. Now that doesn't happen nearly as often. And if you look at the areas where the cremation rate seems to be the highest, I think that seems to happens even less. So I think that plays a part in it. The support systems for some of these families are not what they were 40 or 50 years ago in end-of-life experiences. Families have become more fragmented. I think all those things play a part in that."
Many physicians say they are nervous about prescribing lethal doses of drugs for the terminally ill. The law in the nation's most populous state took decades to pass and goes into effect June 9. There are concerns it will lead to hasty decisions, misdiagnosis, and even waning support by insurers for palliative care, in which dying people can be sedated to relieve their suffering.