Westchester County New York Residents Benefit from “Choices & Conversations at Life’s End” Forum
NY Assemblymember Amy Paulin & Compassion & Choices Medical Director Dr. David Grube Lead Community Discussion
Compassion & Choices New York hosted an open community discussion on Thursday night: “Choices & Conversations at Life’s End,” a thoughtful discussion on expanding options and improving care in New York. Co-hosts of the event included New York Civil Liberties Union Lower Hudson Valley Chapter, Westchester League of Women Voters, WESPAC, the Ethical Society of Northern Westchester, and Briarcliff-Ossining Ministerial Association.
Assemblymember Amy Paulin (D-Westchester), the Assembly sponsor of New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act (A.2383-a/S.3151-a), said: “It is often difficult discussing end-of-life issues with family and friends but those are important conversation to have. Similarly, it’s important for me as a legislator to hear what New Yorkers really want when it comes to improving care and expanding options for those approaching the end of life. I always find these to be very moving and emotional experiences. Last night was no exception.
“I am proud to sponsor the Medical Aid in Dying Act and I was heartened that the vast majority of those who attended the forum support the legislation, as do the majority of New Yorkers,” Paulin said. “We’ve spent several years listening to New Yorkers about their views and helping to educate them about options at the end of life, including medical aid in dying, which is now authorized in seven state and Washington, D.C. I am committed to making 2019 the year New York joins that list.”
New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act would allow mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live to have the option to request a doctor’s prescription for medication they can decide to take to peacefully end their suffering if it becomes unbearable. This end-of-life option is available in California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and starting Jan. 1, in Hawai’i. Collectively, these eight jurisdictions represent nearly one of five Americans (19%) and have a combined 40 years of safely implementing this medical practice. The New York State Academy of Family Physicians has endorsed the bill.
Dr. David Grube, Compassion & Choices National Medical Director, said: “As a family physician who has written prescriptions for medical aid in dying in Oregon, I know what a relief it is for terminally ill adults when they get the medication. It allows them to enjoy their remaining time with their loved ones, knowing they won’t have to suffer needlessly at life’s end. And these laws improve care for many terminally ill adults who may not use this option, by spurring them to discuss all their end-of-life care options with their doctor, including hospice and palliative care, and to better utilize them sooner and more effectively.”