- Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book introduced a “Death with Dignity” bill that would allow terminally ill Floridians to end their life through euthanasia.
- The option would only be available to adults deemed terminally ill with fewer than six months to live, who voluntarily express their desire to utilize the end-of-life treatment.
- Patients must make two verbal requests and one written request for the necessary medication, and they may rescind their request at any time.
- The attending physician must perform several tasks, including referral to a consulting physician, informing the patient of alternatives, and informing the patient of their right to rescind the request.
- If passed, Florida would join ten other states and Washington, DC, in allowing medical aid in dying for terminally ill patients.
Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book filed a “Death with Dignity” bill that would grant Floridians suffering from a terminal illness the option to end their life using methods of euthanasia.
If the bill is adopted, the option would only be made available to an individual with a terminal illness who is deemed to have fewer than six months to live. Through a series of consultations with doctors, the patient must also be declared mentally capable. The end-of-life option will only be permitted for individuals age eighteen and older who have voluntarily expressed their wish to die.
To obtain the necessary euthanasia medication, a qualified patient would be required to make two verbal requests and a subsequent written request to their physician. The patient would not be permitted to make the second verbal request for at least 15 days after making the first. However, if the patient’s attending physician has medically confirmed that the patient is likely to die within 15 days after making the first request, the patient would be allowed to make the second verbal request at any time.
Following the second request, the attending physician would be required to give an opportunity to rescind the decision, though Book’s bill allows the end-of-life patient to back out of the arrangement at any time.
“The Legislature finds that every competent adult has the fundamental right of self-determination regarding decisions pertaining to his or her own health and recognizes that for some faced with a terminal condition, prolonging life may result in a painful or burdensome existence,” reads the bill.
Before final procedures can be performed, a physician must adhere to a number of requirements before administering the medication including the referral of the patient to a consulting physician for medical confirmation of the diagnosis, and for a determination that the patient is competent and acting voluntarily.
Further, the physician would be required to inform the patient of other feasible alternatives, including comfort care, hospice care, and pain control. They would also be required to reiterate that the patient has the ability to rescind the request at any time.
If a medical professional believes the patient may be suffering from a psychiatric or psychological disorder leading to impaired judgment, they would be required to refer the patient to a psychiatrist or psychologist for counseling. In this scenario, under the bill, a physician cannot prescribe medication until the psychiatrist or psychologist determines that the patient is acting in sound judgment.
Book’s legislation is scheduled to be heard in the Health Policy, Judiciary, and Fiscal Policy Senate committees in the coming weeks. If the bill passes, Florida would join ten other states and Washington, DC in allowing medical aid in dying for terminally ill patients.
“We hope to have Florida join 10 other states and Washington, DC in guaranteeing an individual’s right to make their own health care decisions,” said Book. “This law would not increase the number of deaths in Florida – it would simply increase compassionate, patient-centered end-of-life options for patients with a terminal illness when the last days of their life become too unbearable.”
My brother-in-law was a resident of New Mexico, and took advantage of the law there to end his life by consuming a lethal concoction. He was a great guy, and I will remember him as a trailblazer.
These laws start with “death with dignity” but soon morph toward state convenience and “duty to die”. Other countries like Canada and Netherlands are ahead of us; they started with helping hard cases die with dignity but are now allowing depressed teenagers and people without money for healthcare to end their lives this way. It is an evil slippery slope.
(1) This is not healthcare; it is death-care.
(2) If the patient “is deemed to have fewer than six months to live” then why hurry ?
Let’s just apply the euthanasia concept to this bill !!