End of Life Forum: options for the terminally ill

Hawaii Independent Staff

As Hawaii’s population ages, what ought to be done at the end of life is becoming a matter of great concern to the state. To explore the options available to those with a terminal illness, the University of Hawaii’s Public Policy Center and the Matsunaga Institute for Peace are sponsoring a moderated panel discussion on Thursday, February 23 on the topic, “End of Life: Public Policy for the Terminally Ill.” The forum, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Hawaii State Capitol Auditorium, includes Attorney General Douglas Chin, Dr. Charles Miller and John Radcliffe of Compassion and Choices Hawaii, and Dr. Craig Nakatsuka and Joy Yadao of Hawaii’s Partnership for Appropriate and Compassionate Care. The panel will be moderated by Judge Michael Broderick (Ret.), the President and CEO of the YMCA of Honolulu. 

Advances in medicine mean that more local residents are caring for relatives in their final days and are facing difficult decisions about their illnesses and death. Furthermore, 100 million Americans have a chronic disease, and a growing number of these chronically-ill people are asking for the right to take their own lives. The intent of the forum is to identify the various positions, and in the process consider the consequences of alternative public policies for the terminally ill in an environment of tolerance and respect.

Judge Broderick is the former director of the Judiciary’s Center for Alternative Resolution, the former Administrative Director of the State Courts, and a former Family Court Judge where he presided over more than 10,000 cases involving every type of family dispute. Over the course of his career, Judge Broderick has moderated or facilitated public and/or televised forums on many controversial issues, including commercial leasehold, siting of public facilities, the State Hospital, homelessness, race, discrimination and identity politics in Hawaii, and the Akaka bill. He currently is the President and CEO of the YMCA of Honolulu.

Douglas Chin graduated from Stanford University and received his law degree from the University of Hawaii. Chin joined the Honolulu prosecutor’s office in 1996, where he tried approximately fifty jury cases to verdict. From 2010 to 2013, under Honolulu mayor Peter B. Carlisle, Chin served as managing director for the city and county of Honolulu. From 2013 to 2015, Chin was a law partner and eventual managing partner at Carlsmith Ball, one of the oldest and largest law firms in the state of Hawaii. Hawaii Governor David Ige appointed Chin to become the state’s Attorney General in January 2015. He was unanimously confirmed by the state senate on March 15, 2015.

Dr. Charles Miller is a retired oncologist, board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology, and hematology. He is one of the founding members of the Physician Advisory Council for Aid in Dying (PACAID) for Compassion & Choices. He served for 30 years in the U.S. Army Medical Department, was chief consultant to the Surgeon General and spent nine years as chief of hematology at Kaiser Medical Center in Honolulu. He is a member of the Hawaii Society of Clinical Oncology and serves as the State Affiliate Representative to the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Dr. Craig Nakatsuka is an internist who recently retired after 34 years of service from Kaiser Medical Group. He has spent the past decade in the work of long-term care and palliative care. Most recently, he spent time mentoring health care teams in providing patient-centered care, one of his greatest joys. He is a spokesperson for Hawaii’s Partnership for Appropriate Compassion and Care.

John Radcliffe, stage 4 terminal cancer patient and advocate for medical aid in dying in Hawaii, is Co-founder & President Emeritus of Capitol Consultants of Hawaii. He is a veteran union leader, educator, writer, speaker, lecturer, and governmental and political action specialist. During the past three decades he has been involved in more political campaigns in Hawaii than virtually any other person. He’s been an active lobbyist at the state and national level for forty years.

Joy Yadao is a registered nurse with over 25 years of experience in nursing leadership and in the specialties of pediatrics, oncology, case management, end-of-life care, advanced care planning and healthcare quality. Joy is the former Executive Director of the St. Francis Hospice and Palliative Care Program and was the former Hawaii Clinical Improvement Coach for the CMS Partnership for Patients program. Joy is currently managing an Advance Care Planning initiative recently funded by Medicare and is a founding board member of Kokua Mau, Hawaii’s Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

The panel discussion is free and open to the public.