New York

Advocates are pushing to build support for dying aid

ALBANY—Supporters of measures to allow terminally ill patients to claim lethal drugs are calling for lawmakers to add New York to the list of states enacting controversial lethal medical assistance in 2023. states that he is convinced of the law.

This optimism is underpinned by the fact that the legislation has the support of the New York Academy of Family Physicians, the New York Civil Liberties Union, the New York League of Women Voters, the StateWide Senior Action Council, and the New York State Public Health Association. and some other groups.

Under this proposal, only terminally ill patients who are 18 years of age or older, have less than six months to live, have been diagnosed by a physician, and certify that they understand the consequences of their decisions, should request the prescription drugs that kill them. I can.

Primarily sponsored by Scarsdale Legislator Amy Paulin, the law argues that mentally competent people should have the right to end their suffering by choosing a doctor-approved lethal drug. is doing.

“Patients should not be forced to move to another state or leave the country to control the end of their lives,” Pauline said in the bill. I want to die my way and with dignity in my own home surrounded by my loved ones.”

A study published this year in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society found that from 1998 to 2020, the majority of individuals who opted for dying medical assistance in states where medical assistance was allowed were cancer patients. did.

The New York bill, whose Senate sponsor is Senator Diane Savino of D-Staten Island, was signed by the New York State Catholic Convention, which represents the state’s Roman Catholic bishops, and several other organizations that argue the state should not be involved. face strong opposition from By condoning what critics have labeled “assisted suicide.”

In its memo on the bill, the Catholic Congress branded the bill “unsafe for all involved”, “inadequate protection for patients at greatest risk of abuse”, lacking accountability and He argued that there was “weak protection of conscience” for medical professionals and medical institutions.

The proposed legislation has strong support from Congressman Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan, chairman of the Congressional Health Committee.

“This has been in law for years now in several states, and there is no evidence of abuse,” Gottfried said, adding strict protective measures to protect patients from abuse situations. said he was satisfied with what he was seeing.

“As you know, under the law, a patient can refuse life-prolonging treatment and insist that treatment be stopped,” Gottfried said. “I don’t think there’s much difference between that and giving someone the right to take a drug that can hasten death.”

With lawmakers set to return to the Capitol in just six weeks, an advocacy group called Compassion & Choices presses lawmakers to take action, responding to public pleas of dying people to push legislation through I’m playing legislation.

Activists have vowed to travel statewide to ensure that legislators are aware of what they are demanding action from.

“Unfortunately, there are dying patients whose needs are not met by even the best hospice care,” Dr. Jay Federman, former Lake Saranac Physician and Medical Director of High Peaks Hospice’s Tri Lakes Division, said in a statement. “Medical assistance in dying is an element of end-of-life care and does not replace palliative or hospice care. It is an improvement.”

Despite intense activity, bills from previous sessions remain crammed into the committee.

Republican Niagara Falls Rep. Angelo Molinello said he believes lethal medical assistance is the wrong approach, pointing out that there are drugs designed to ease the intense pain experienced by terminally ill patients.

“The reason I disagree is the trauma that families can suffer after the fact — knowing there was a suicide — which is basically the same as medical assistance leading to death. , but it condones suicide. influences.”

The New York State Academy of Family Physicians, in supporting the bill, included a requirement that the request be written and verbal and signed by two witnesses in order for a patient to be eligible to request a lethal dose of medication. We emphasized the fact that we have strict requirements. Neither are the patient’s primary care physicians.

The physician concerned must obtain confirmation from the consulting physician and may choose to refer the patient to a mental health professional, the physician group said in its response to the law.

The law also gives doctors the right to refuse to participate in conduct that violates their personal ethical code, the bill’s memo notes. Advocates are pushing to build support for dying aid

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