The Legislation Allows:
A terminally ill, mentally capable adult with a prognosis of 6 months or less to live to have the option to request, obtain and decide to ingest medication to die peacefully in their sleep if suffering is unbearable. The bill is modeled after the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, which has been in effect for 25 years without a single instance of abuse or coercion.
Just like the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, to be eligible, a person must: ●
- Be an adult, age 18 or older
- Have a medically-confirmed terminal illness that is incurable and irreversible and will likely cause death within six months
- Be mentally capable of making an informed healthcare decision
Individuals are not eligible for medical aid in dying because of age or disability.
Core Safeguards and Regulatory Requirements
- Two physicians must confirm that the person is terminally ill with a prognosis of 6 months or less to live, is making an informed healthcare decision, and is not being coerced.
- The attending physician must inform the requesting individual about all of their end-of-life care options, including palliative care and hospice.
- There is a mandatory mental health evaluation if either physician has concerns about the person’s mental capacity to make their own healthcare decisions. The mental health provider must confirm in writing the dying person’s capacity before a prescription can be written.
- The individual must make an oral request for the medication, and a written request witnessed by two people.
- The terminally ill person can withdraw their request for aid-in-dying medication, not take the medication once they have it, or otherwise change their mind at any point in time.
- The individual must be able to self-ingest the medication.
- No physician, health provider, or pharmacist is required to participate in medical aid in dying. Prescribing providers who comply with all aspects of the law receive civil and criminal immunity.
- Anyone attempting to coerce a patient will face criminal prosecution.
- Unused medication must be disposed of as required by state and federal laws.
- Health insurance benefits are unaffected by the availability of medical aid in dying, and life insurance payments can’t be denied to the families of people who use the law.
- The New York Health Commissioner is required to issue a publicly available annual report about the usage of the law. Patient and physician identifying information is kept confidential.
For More Information
Corinne Carey, NY Campaign Director