The Connecticut legislature will soon be voting on a humane and badly needed bill that offers an option for patients diagnosed as terminally ill with a life expectancy of six months or less.
A patient may ask his or her doctor to prescribe life-ending medication that may be ingested to end suffering, if and when the patient chooses. Modeled on legislation that has been effective in Oregon for 23 years, the bill provides protection for patients and doctors who decide to participate. Nine states and Washington DC have similar legislation. There has been no evidence of violations, abuse or undesirable expansion and no adverse impact on end-of-life care as a result.
36% of those patients who obtain the medication don’t use it. Doctors and psychologists have concluded that when patients know they can decide when to end their suffering, they are greatly comforted. Relief of anxiety allows them to cope with their illness with less apprehension.
Connecticut people favor this legislation. A 2015 Quinnipiac Poll showed 63% approved. Only 34% were opposed.
The people of Connecticut should urge their state legislators, via phone and email, to vote for HB-6425. Terminally ill patients deserve an option to die in peace with dignity.