01 Sep 5 Problems with H. 1991 – Doctor-Prescribed Suicide
There are many problem with Rep. Kafka’s H. 1991 Doctor-Prescribed Suicide Bill, here are five of the most glaring. Visit us often to learn more.
- There is no required waiting period between a person’s request for a lethal dose and receiving the deadly prescription.
- The actual death may occur in secret. There are no witnesses or medical professional required to be present when the patient takes the dose. There is no way to be sure of what happened or if the dose was taken of the patient’s own free will.
- There is no required reporting of suicide requests. This means that if there is suspicion of coercion or deception involved it could only be investigated by the authorities after the fact.
- The bill calls for a terminal diagnosis for the patient with a prognosis of six months or fewer left to live. This is an extremely flawed standard. Doctors make a timeline prognosis as a loose estimate to help patients and their families make final arrangements. These are not precise predictions but educated guesses and should not be used as a firm criterion for making important, irrevocable decisions. All of us know someone who has survived a prognosis by weeks, months, years, or even decades.
- While the bill claims that healthcare providers are not required to participate in a suicide, those who refuse to participate must provide a referral to a physician who will write a lethal prescription, thus facilitating the act.