New York doctors urge legislators to reject assisted suicide law

Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are urging state lawmakers to oppose the [assisted suicide law] this session, and instead, promote palliative care and hospice care for terminal patients.

Both the Medical Society of the State of New York and the American Medical Association oppose “physician-assisted suicide.”

…Kristen Hanson, a community relations advocate for the Patients’ Rights Action Fund led the rally. The group’s mission is to protect patients’ rights and stop the legalization of assisted-suicide. Her husband J.J. Hanson died from terminal brain cancer in 2017, but because physician-assisted suicide was not legal in New York, Hanson believes her husband was able to live three-and-a-half years past his life expectancy…

Doctors like Dr. Matthew Lynch, a neurologist from Amsterdam, believes this bill does not include the minimal safeguards to be passed by legislators.  “Just because a person is unimpaired when consenting to a script doesn’t mean they won’t be when they decide to take it,” Lynch said.  Other concerns about the bill include a lack of mandatory training for doctors for prescribing the medication and the lack of a waiting period after patients request the prescription…

“Hospice and palliative care as a medical specialty exists to help patients with life-limiting illness, experience the best quality of life possible as they face the reality of their own impending death,” Edmiston said…“There are alternatives to unwilling suffering,” Edmiston said, “ We hope to provide more aid in living rather than more aid in dying.”

Physician-assisted suicide laws call into question how life and health care insurance coverage would be implemented once someone voluntarily decides to end their life.

Dr. Gregory Weston, an infectious disease specialist in the Bronx believes that if [assisted suicide] is passed, there will be a financial incentive for insurance companies to make it more difficult for terminally ill patients to choose expensive alternative care like hospice and easier to choose physician-assisted suicide.  “Doctor-assisted suicide is especially dangerous for those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged, isolated, the elderly, and living with disabilities,” said Weston, “ Those who are already marginalized and discriminated by our health care system.”

Read the full story at the Legislative Gazette…

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