Death With Dignity / Physician Assisted Suicide

“Death with Dignity” / “Physician Assisted Suicide” Patient Protections in current law passed recently are to Sunset in July, 2016.

The “Death with Dignity” / “Physician Assisted Suicide” law as passed granted civil and legal immunity to doctors, and contained patient protections (15 steps to be followed) in order for that civil and legal immunity to be valid (VTDigger.org). This informed consent process is set to be replaced with a “streamlined procedure” as of July of 2016, in which:

  1. the physician will determine that the patient is capable and does not have impaired judgment;
  2. the physician will inform the patient of all feasible end-of-life services, including palliative care, comfort care, hospice care, and pain control;
  3. the physician will prescribe a dose of medication that may be lethal to the patient;
  4. the physician will advise the patient of all foreseeable risks related to the prescription; and
  5. the patient will then make an independent decision to self-administer a lethal dose of the medication (ChoiceIllusion.org).

There has been no legislation offered to continue the patient protections as of yet; but this is a major issue as to whether fully informed consent will be preserved and protected.

It might be helpful if we reach out to Senators and Reps to point out the coming situation and to make sure they know that (1) free and informed consent  must be protected, which means patient protections in the current law will be kept or even strengthened; and (2) that central to the right of informed consent is the right to decline consent; therefore, the right of the person to withdraw consent at any time and for any reason without disadvantage or prejudice should also be safeguarded – for all medical treatments…