Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New York State Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia Bills Are a Recipe for Elder Abuse



Dore: "Even if you like the concept of assisted suicide and euthanasia, the proposed New York bills have it all wrong.”

Contact: Margaret Dore (206) 697-1217

Albany, NY -- Attorney Margaret Dore, president of Choice is an Illusion, which has fought assisted suicide legalization efforts in many states and now New York State, made the following statement in connection with a legislative lobby day for proposed bills, which seek to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia.

"There are bills pending before the New York State Legislature, which seek to legalize physician-assisted suicide, assisted suicide and euthanasia as those terms are traditionally defined," said Dore. "The bills are described as 'aid in dying,' but their reach is not limited to dying people. 'Eligible' persons may have years, even decades, to live."

Dore said, "The bills are a recipe for elder abuse. The patient's heir, who will financially benefit from the patient's death, is allowed to actively participate in signing the patient up for the lethal dose. There is no oversight over administration." Dore elaborated, "No doctor, not even a witness, is required to be present at the death. Even if the patient struggled, who would know? The bills create the perfect crime."  

The New York bills seek to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia for people who are "terminal," which is defined as a doctor’s prediction of less than six months to live. In real life, such persons can have years, even decades, to live.

“Doctors can be wrong about life expectancy, sometimes way wrong," Dore said. "This is due to actual mistakes: They evaluated another patient’s test results. More typically, however, doctors are wrong because predicting life expectancy is not an exact science. A few years ago, I was picked up at the airport by a man who at age 18 had been diagnosed with ALS and given 3 to 5 years to live, at which time he was predicted to die by paralysis. The diagnosis had been confirmed by the Mayo Clinic. When he picked me up, he was 74 years old. The disease progression had stopped on its own.”

“If any of the New York bills become law, there will be new lethal paths of elder abuse, which will be legally sanctioned," said Dore. "People with years, even decades to live, will be encouraged to throw away their lives. Even if you like the concept of assisted suicide and euthanasia, the proposed New York bills have it all wrong.”

For more information, see:

1. Memo from Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA, to Members of the New York State Assembly and Senate Health Committees, January 9, 2016, available at: https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/ny-memo-01-09-16.pdf  See back up documentation at: https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/ny-memo-attachments-01-09-16.pdf

2.  Margaret K. Dore, "'Death with Dignity': What Do We Advise Our Clients?," King County Bar Association, Bar Bulletin, May 2009, https://www.kcba.org/newsevents/barbulletin/BView.aspx?Month=05&Year=2009&AID=article5.htm

3.  Nina Shapiro, "Terminal Uncertainty: Washington’s new "Death With Dignity" law allows doctors to help people commit suicide—once they’ve determined that the patient has only six months to live. But what if they’re wrong?" Seattle Weekly, 01/14/09, available at https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/terminal-uncertainty-w-o-ad.pdf