Nearly Three in Four Delaware Physicians Surveyed Support State’s Current Medical Aid-in-Dying Bill

June 9, 2022

Seven in 10 Delaware Physicians Surveyed Want Option of Medical Aid in Dying if They Become Terminally Ill

Nearly three out of four Delaware physicians surveyed (74%) say they support current legislation that would allow terminally ill adults the legal option of medical aid in dying to end their suffering. In addition, more than three out of four physicians (77%) in the survey who identified as a member of the Medical Society of Delaware (MSD) support the medical aid-in-dying legislation, the Ron Silverio/Heather Block Delaware End of Life Options Act (HB 140).

These are among the findings of a new poll conducted by NüPOINT Market Research on May 23-June 6 and sponsored by Compassion & Choices Action Network.

The random sample-size survey of 147 physicians, including 75 who identified as an MSD member, is timely since the Delaware General Assembly is considering the Ron Silverio/Heather Block Delaware End of Life Options Act (HB 140) before the Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on June 30.

The legislation, which has 12 sponsors and cosponsors, is named in honor of two Delawareans, Ron Silverio and  Heather Block, each of whom had terminal cancer and advocated for the bill’s passage before dying with needless suffering because they didn’t have the option of medical aid in dying.

Other results from the NüPOINT Market Research poll include:

  • Slightly more than seven out of 10 (70.7%) Delaware physicians surveyed said they would like the option of medical aid in dying for themselves if they become terminally ill. Less than one out of six (16.3%) Delaware physicians surveyed said they would not like the option of medical aid in dying in that case.
  • Nearly nine out of 10 Delaware physicians surveyed who identified as an MSD member (89.3%) said MSD either should adopt a position supporting medical aid-in-dying legislation (54.7%), adopt an engaged neutrality stance by serving as an information resource and providing input on legislative proposals (26.7%), or should adopt a passive position stance and remain silent (8%). Slightly more than one out of 10 (10.7%) physicians surveyed who identified as an MSD member said MSD should adopt a stance opposing medical aid-in-dying legislation.
  • More than half (52%) of the Delaware physicians surveyed who identified as an MSD member said they would be willing to write a medical aid-in-dying prescription for a qualified terminally ill patient if the Delaware End of Life Options Act becomes law.

“These survey results come as no surprise to me because doctors understand that ethical decisions are complex,” said Anna Marie D’Amico, M.D., a practicing physician in Wilmington and MSD member. “Speaking strictly for myself, I believe these intensely personal end-of-life care decisions should be made by the dying individual, not by the doctor, and not by the government. Those who wish to leave this world using medical aid in dying love life and their families as much as those who make other decisions.”

Anna Marie D’Amico, M.D.
        sf-constrain-proportions=Anna Marie D’Amico, M.D.

The poll results summary is posted here: candc.link/de22docsurvey

The crosstabs of the complete poll results are posted here: candc.link/de22docsxtabs

These results mirror similar findings from national surveys of U.S. physicians as well as surveys from doctors in Colorado,  MarylandMassachusetts, and New York.

2020 GBAO Strategies poll showed Delaware voters support medical aid in dying by more than a 3-1 margin (72% vs. 20%), including a strong majority spanning the geographic, political and racial spectrum.

“The evidence from these two polls is clear: Delaware doctors and the patients they serve, regardless of their background, are overwhelmingly united in support of medical aid in dying,” said Tim Appleton, Delaware campaign director for Compassion & Choices Action Network. “It’s time Delaware lawmakers honor their constituents’ wishes and pass the End of Life Options Act before this session ends.”

Neighboring Washington, D.C., New Jersey and nine other states, representing one out of five U.S. residents (22%), authorize medical aid in dying as an end-of-life care option for terminally ill adults.

About Compassion & Choices/Compassion & Choices Action Network:

Compassion & Choices is comprised of two organizations that improve care and expand options at life’s end: Compassion & Choices (501(c)(3)) educates, empowers, defends, and advocates; the Compassion & Choices Action Network (501(c)(4)) focuses exclusively on legislation, ballot campaigns, and limited electoral work.

Paid for by Compassion & Choices Action Network.

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