Category Archives: Death with Dignity

Death with Dignity laws allow mentally competent, terminally-ill adult state residents to voluntarily request and receive a prescription medication to hasten their death.

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Help Stop DC from Squashing Death with Dignity Legislation

From the Death With Dignity National Organization:

The clock is ticking. The companion resolutions in the U.S. Senate (SJ Res 4) and House (HJ Res 27) to block the Washington, D.C. Death with Dignity Act are moving through the legislative process, getting closer and closer to a vote.

The same members of Congress who talk nonstop about small government and states’ rights are seeking to use their federal power and their personal views to override the will of the Washington, D.C. residents, whom they don’t even represent. Worse, more and more Representatives and Senators are signing on as co-sponsors. Whereas two members of Congress introduced the resolutions, last week their ranks grew to 13, and now there are 20 in all.

This attack on the District residents’ rights is a growing threat, and we must match its force—not just for the District, but to preserve the gains we’ve made since 1994. While we are actively working behind the scenes with our friends and allies in the D.C. Council and Congress, we need your help to preserve our victory in D.C.

Please call your members of Congress and urge them to vote against the SJ Res 4/HJ Res 27 resolution!

Once you are connected, tell the staffer on the line that you are a constituent and would like the Representative/Senator to know that you oppose the resolution to disapprove of the D.C. Death with Dignity Act. That’s it.

If you think, “I don’t live in D.C., this doesn’t concern me,” think again: We know from our experience in Oregon that if the D.C. bill goes down, a national ban on assisted dying may be next. Already, Rep. Wenstrup has tweeted that, “Congress failing to act would imply federal approval of physician-assisted suicide.” These members of Congress are not just after Washington, D.C., they want to stop the growing momentum we’ve built in passing Death with Dignity laws across the country.

Your members of Congress are obligated to hear their constituents’ voices. All calls, both for and against, are tallied. If you do not make that call, the tally will give a mistaken impression that their constituents do not care about the issue or want them to vote differently. It’s much harder for your Representative/Senators to vote down the resolution if the only constituents they hear from are its supporters. Your call is especially critical if your members of Congress are leaning toward voting for the resolution. Nothing sways your electeds’ vote like overwhelming opposition from their constituents!

Please call your members of Congress and urge them to oppose H.J. Res 27/S.J. Res 4 today.

Your Representative is here:

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Your Senators are here:

https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?OrderBy=state

Thank you for making the most important call of this year,

Peg Sandeen
Executive Director

Death with Dignity Updates

Death With Dignity National CenterEarlier this month, the Death With Dignity National Center released an update on USA-wide death with dignity legislation. The updates were highlighted by a countdown to June 9th when California, with their End of Life Option Act, will join Oregon, Washington, and Vermont in providing peace of mind for all those who wish this to be an option.

In addition to the California End of Life Option Act, the Death With Dignity National Center has proposed the establishment Senate Bill 1002, End of Life Option Telephone Number Act, which will mandate that the California Department of Public Health create a toll-free number where Californians will learn how to navigate the legal and medical requirements of the new law.

Death with Dignity Updates in Other States:

MARYLAND  – while Maryland will not pass their End of Life Option Act this year, their have been significant strides forward through committee hearings in both chambers.

HAWAI‘I  – in Hawaii, a bill stalled in a Senate Committee but Death with Dignity will continue to build a coalition of supporters and allies and raise awareness throughout the state.

NEW YORK – New York’s End of Life Options group continues to pursue the Patient Self-Determination Act.

MAINE – in preparation for next year’s session in Maine, Death with Dignity is assisting their partner organization, It’s MyDeath, in raising awareness with educational events.

For a state-by-state overview of Death with Dignity legislation, see the map below:

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In states where there is no legislative activity, Death With Dignity National Center is supporting the efforts of the grass-roots organizations in Ohio, Virginia, and Texas.


For more information on Death With Dignity as well as funeral planning resources to guide you through planning a funeral, visit the Death With Dignity Resource at I’m Sorry to Hear, browse the article library, download a Funeral Planning Checklist, review the Casket Guide, see your State by State Guide on End of Life issues. Get information on How to Pay for a Funeral, view Funeral Planning Tips, and access Funeral Consumer Advocacy links all from our Resources area.

VIDEO: Everything You Need to Know About The Good Death

The Good Death | Dying on Your Own Terms

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Irina Jordan, founder of Artisurn talks about the “good death” and all that it entails.  From green burials, to home funerals, to death doulas, to death with dignity laws, Irina neatly sums up all the good ways to die in the TedX Talk below.


For more information on funeral planning and resources to guide you through planning a funeral, visit the I’m Sorry to Hear article library, download a Funeral Planning Checklist, review the Casket Guide, see your State by State Guide on End of Life issues, get information on How to Pay for a Funeral, view Funeral Planning Tips, and access Funeral Consumer Advocacy links all from our Resources area.

Everything You Need to Know About The Good Death

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Irina Jordan, founder of Artisurn, talks about the good death and all that it entails.  From green burials, to home funerals, death doulas, and death with dignity, Irina neatly sums up all these topics in her 16 minute TedX talk below:

For more information on funeral planning and resources to guide you through planning a funeral, visit the I’m Sorry to Hear article library and Resources to download a Funeral Planning Checklist, review the Casket Guide, find Funeral Planning Tips, and access Funeral Consumer Advocacy links.

Where is Death with Dignity legal in the U.S.?

Death with Dignity MapThe Death with Dignity National Center have long been working on laws to allow the dying more control of their death and end-of-life decisions. These laws allow terminally-ill, able-minded state residents to request and receive prescription medication to hasten their death. To understand more about Death with Dignity and what they stand for, you can visit their homepage, or read our existing articles here on I’m Sorry to Hear

Death with Dignity – Understanding You End-of-Life Rights

Death with Dignity Gains More Attention, Meaning More Control for End-of-Life Decisions

Within the United States, Death with Dignity laws have been officially approved in 3 states, and bills have been submitted in 7 to favor physician-assisted death.

States with Approved Death with Dignity laws:

Oregon – approved in 1994, went into effect in 1997; though challenged many times prior to becoming fully effective, “the years of data show the law is safe and utilized the way it’s intended with no evidence of a slippery slope for vulnerable Oregonians”

Washington – approved in 2008, went into effect in 2009

Vermont – approved and effective since 2013

States with Current Bills Submitted in Favor of Death with Dignity:
(Click on link to track progress of bill)

Connecticut – House Bill 5326

Hawaii – House Bill 606

Kansas – House Bill 2068

Massachusetts – House Bill 1998

New Hampshire – House Bill 1325

New Jersey – Senate Bill 382 and Assembly Bill 2270

Pennsylvania – Senate Bill 1032

The State of Montana

In December 2009, Montana’s Supreme Court decision ruled that nothing within state laws prohibited a physician from honoring a terminally-ill, mentally-competent patient’s request to hasten their death by prescribing medication.

While Montana still isn’t an official state in approval of the Death with Dignity cause, since 2009 many bills have been introduced, however as of late no bills are active in submission.

For more information about Death with Dignity, visit the Death with Dignity National Center homepage.


For more information on funeral planning and resources to guide you through planning a funeral, visit the I’m Sorry to Hear article library and Resources to download a Funeral Planning Checklist, review the Casket Guide, find Funeral Planning Tips, and access Funeral Consumer Advocacy links.

Death with Dignity Gains More Attention, Meaning More Control for End-Of-Life Decisions

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Photo Credit of ET Online

Death with Dignity, a movement to give the dying more control of their end-of-life care and decisions, has been gaining more media attention as of late. The Death with Dignity National Center advocates for mentally competent adults given six months or fewer to live the option to request medication from their doctors to hasten their impending deaths. Ethical controversies may be born from this movement, however in the end it seems reasonable to say that the option of dying should be left in the hands of the dying. Within our culture today we advocate so enthusiastically for free choice and individuality. Death is a very personal and individual decision as well, and by the situation premise that the Death with Dignity National Center advocate for, this seems appropriate.

The rising media attention given to this Death with Dignity movement prove that America is taking notice of this call for freedom of choice and the final decisions of an individual. Within all this talk of death, there is something strangely relieving about being given the choice to come and go within this life by one’s desires or beliefs.

In the past, I’m Sorry to Hear had posted an article with more information on Death with Dignity.

To learn more about Death with Dignity, visit their home site here.

For links to recent articles bringing attention to the Death with Dignity movement:

CBSNews – New Jersey Assembly Approves Death with Dignity Bill

Huffington Post – Brittany Maynard, 29-Year-Old With Terminal Cancer, Explains Why She’s Delaying Ending Her Life

The New York Times – A Fruitless Fight to Die at Home

The New York Times – Fighting to Honor a Father’s Last Wish: To Die at Home

The New York Times – The Best Possible Day

People.com – Right-To-Die Advocate Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

 


For more information on funeral planning and resources to guide you through planning a funeral, visit the I’m Sorry to Hear article library and Resources to download a Funeral Planning Checklist, review the Casket Guide, find Funeral Planning Tips, and access Funeral Consumer Advocacy links.

Death with Dignity – Understanding Your End-Of-Life Rights

Death with DignityDeath with Dignity is a movement to provide options for the dying to control their own end-of-life care. This guest-post with Melissa Barber of the Death with Dignity National Center helps us better understand the laws and options available to residents in select US states which support Death with Dignity.

What does it mean to die with dignity?  It’s a tough question, and one which could be answered countless different ways by any person facing a terminal illness. For some, it will mean trying every treatment possible to extend life. Others will opt to focus purely on comfort care earlier and work with their medical team to remain as comfortable as possible–even if it means being heavily sedated in their final days. And under the Vermont, Oregon, and Washington Death with Dignity laws, some will decide to have more control of the timing and manner of their deaths with the help of medication prescribed by their doctors.

Each option centers around one common theme: patient-centered care. This care model empowers patients and their doctors to work together to determine the most appropriate treatment options for each individual patient.

Patient-centered care is at the heart of end-of-life healthcare policy reform allowing for Death with Dignity laws, and what the Death with Dignity National Center supports and advocates for throughout the US. This rarely used option (accounts for 0.2% of all deaths in Oregon), allows mentally competent adults who’ve been given six months or fewer to live the option to request medication from their doctors which would hasten their impending deaths.

The request process, which includes two doctors and waiting periods, is thorough and full of safeguards to ensure the patient–and no one else–is asking for the medication. The decision rests solely in the patient’s hands all the way through to the final choice of whether or when to ingest the medication. This person can opt out of the request process at any time. In fact, a third of the people who request the medication never end up taking it. Simply having the prescription provides comfort; they know they have control if their suffering gets to be too great.

As part of the request process, the person’s doctor must discuss all other feasible options including hospice and palliative care. Hospice enrollment is dramatically higher among people who request the medication than the national average for hospice usage. In 2012, 97% of the people who exercised their rights under Oregon’s law were also enrolled in hospice. By way of comparison, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization estimates 45% of deaths in the US are under the care of hospice.

The greatest human freedom is to live, and die, according to one’s own desires and beliefs. There are many aspects of patient-centered care which ensure all people can decide for themselves what’s best for them: excellent doctor-patient communication, end-of-life care planning, access to quality palliative and hospice care, and the option of physician-assisted dying. Death with Dignity is a movement to provide options for the dying to control their own end-of-life care.

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About the Death with Dignity National Center

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Death with Dignity National Center is a 501(c)3, non-partisan, non-profit organization that has led the legal defense and education of the Oregon Death with Dignity Law for nearly 20 years.

The mission of the Death with Dignity National Center is to promote Death with Dignity laws based on our model legislation, the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, both to provide an option for dying individuals and to stimulate nationwide improvements in end-of-life care.———————————————————————————————————————————–Leverage all the great funeral planning tools at I’m Sorry to Hear including our free Funeral Planning ChecklistCasket GuideFuneral Planning TipsFuneral Term Glossary, and Funeral Consumer Advocacy.