Assisted suicide bill on the balance in Empire State

Thursday, January 26, 2017
 | 
Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow.com)

doctor writing prescriptionBoth sides of the doctor-assisted suicide issue are squaring off in New York, the latest battleground state.

Last year, a bill was filed to allow doctors to provide a lethal prescription to facilitate doctor-assisted suicide under certain circumstances, but there were not enough votes to pass it. The same bill has been submitted this session.

Dennis Vacco, a New York attorney and former attorney general of the state, tells OneNewsNow the bill would allow the death pill to be prescribed to a patient with only six months to live.

Vacco says one problem with that is that a medical degree cannot guarantee that a doctor can determine when a person will die of natural causes – six months, or seven or eight or even 18 months.

"The other problem with it," he continues, "is that the same physician who ultimately ends up prescribing the lethal dose is the same physician who makes the determination about the patient's proximity to death."

The lack of accountability then becomes a major issue because the patient is sent home with the drug, but there's no follow-up to see if it is self-administered.

Vacco says there's still one more problem: "At the time the death certificate is completed, the attending physician lists the cause of death as the underlying ailment instead of the lethal dose of the drug that was used to cause the death."

He believes the death certificate should reflect suicide. Vacco cites both legal and moral reasons as to why he hopes the bill will go down to defeat again in the upcoming session.

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