By: Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
November 21, 2019
Why You Should Care about Assisted Suicide Bills
In 2014, Brittany Maynard made headlines when she decided to end her life. She became the youngest face of the “death with dignity” movement. At 29 and suffering from terminal brain cancer, she decided to control where and when she wanted to die with the help of Oregon’s assisted suicide laws.
At the time, Oregon was only one of five states that allowed terminally ill patients to engage in assisted suicide. Now, more and more states are joining the movement. Since August 2019, two more states have added “death with dignity” statutes. Patients typically have to jump through a few hoops to get the medication provided under the law, including getting recommendations from doctors and enduring a 48-hour waiting period.
Florida, however, does not have any legislation on the table concerning assisted suicide. It’s simply not a huge issue here. But with more states allowing assisted suicide, all Americans should be concerned.
Why It’s Important to Care About Assisted Suicide Bills
Assisted suicide is not everyone’s favorite topic of discussion or thought. But it offers an alternative for people who are diagnosed with terminal diseases. People with cancer, ALS, and other serious diseases have a way to pass on without losing their quality of life.
For Floridians, seeking this option would require moving to another state.
No one with a terminal cancer diagnosis expects to have to make the heartbreaking decision about assisted suicide and advanced directives. Under these laws, these plans may be made before any diagnosis is given. Whether you live in Florida, Oregon, or in a different country altogether, it’s important to think about how you want to be cared for in the event of a fatal diagnosis, accident, or another event that may leave you incapacitated.
All About Advanced Directives
After a serious accident or fatal diagnosis, patients may not be able to make decisions about their healthcare. Setting up an advanced care directive can help you prevent the legal and emotional battles that may ensue as family members, spouses, and other caregivers try to make decisions for you.
An advanced care directive is a written statement in which patients express specific decisions about healthcare. This statement can be given to doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare professionals who may hear decisions on a patient’s behalf.
Within the advanced care directive, you may appoint a health care surrogate. This person will have the right to make decisions on your behalf based on what you would have wanted or what you may have discussed before your health declined. They are essentially a representative for you if you are not of sound mind or cannot physically make decisions about your health.
Other decisions you can make in your advanced care directive include:
- Whether you want to be resuscitated (DNR)
- Whether you want specific types of painkiller medication or treatments (Palliative care)
- The decision to stay on life support or breathing machines for an extended period of time (living will)
- Organ and tissue donation (living will)
Setting Up a Plan
You may live a long, healthy life. Or your life may also be cut short by cancer or a car accident. Either way, you should have a plan in place for your end-of-life care and last wishes. Reach out to a Florida attorney for more information on making these plans in a way that is valid under Florida law.
Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
Strategic Planning With Purpose®
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