Friday, May 17, 2013

Left Side of the Aisle #108 - Part 2

Good news: "death with dignity" in VT

And in another bit of good news - probably actually a bit more controversial these days than even same-sex marriage, but which I think is good news - on May 13 the Vermont legislature gave final passage to what is usually called a "death with dignity" bill and sometimes an "assisted suicide" bill. The governor has promised to sign it.

The new law allows doctors to help terminally ill patients die by prescribing lethal doses of medications to patients with no more than six months to live. The rules are rather strict: The patient must specifically request it, of course, in fact they must do so on three separate occasions. They must also get a second medical opinion confirming the prognosis, be offered a psychiatric examination, and wait 17 days to fill the prescription.

Vermont is the fourth state with such a "death with dignity" procedure; a court order in Montana and ballot initiatives in Washington and Oregon had previously legalized the practice in those places.

A big concern of opponents is the idea that people may end their lives unnecessarily, that maybe they would outlive the prognosis or, worse, had been misdiagnosed. But the experience of Washington state helps to allay those fears: Since assisted suicide was legalized there in 2010, only 255 people have received a lethal prescription, some of who chose not to full it. For them, the fact that they had the prescription and could fill it if they so chose gave them enough comfort, enough of a sense of control, so that they never felt to necessity of doing so. So the prospect of this as a lightly or easily-chosen option seem rather far-fetched.


No comments:

// I Support The Occupy Movement : banner and script by @jeffcouturer / (v1.2) document.write('
I support the OCCUPY movement
');function occupySwap(whichState){if(whichState==1){document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}else{document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}} document.write('');