Please ACT Now – support the “End of Life Options Act”
Posted on February 27, 2019
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End of Life Options Act (HB 399/SB311)
Recently huddle members testified late into the evening during the house joint committee hearing for the End of Life Options Act
(HB 399). We need help from members supporting this priority legislation to contact their delegates listed during the next three days. Please send emails and make phone calls to garner more support for this bill, ideally a combination of phone calls and emails works best. However, do whichever you are most comfortable doing. If you can let us know who you contacted by emailing WISE Healthcare Huddle member Cathy at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Please tell Cathy if the delegate answered you, and whether they stated they would support or oppose the legislation. We need your help and any and all support would be AWESOME! A sample of an email sent to a delegate after testifying is copied below as an example. The best emails and contacts are personal ones that reflect your personal stories as a fellow Marylander.
You can also contact Cathy for examples of emails or phone call scripts if you are unsure about what to say. Legislators are keeping track of this legislation and all contact they receive in regard to it.
Example Letter to Delegate from WISE Healthcare Huddle member as follow up to their testimony during the House hearing for HB399 –
As I noted during my testimony to the joint committees yesterday, I am deeply concerned about the use of the word suicide to create sensationalism around a topic when so many people are suffering from mental illness and need to know that suicide is preventable and their lives are worth living. I completely respect everyone’s religious beliefs and do understand that for some people any comfort care measures, including morphine, lorazepam or a pill, would be against their core values, however the two issues should not be conflated. Death is a personal journey for everyone and I understand it must be difficult to legislate how someone else traverses this stage.
It was powerful to hear the opponents present how the other prescriptions used during comfort care do not cause the doctor to falsify death records but this prescription would, which is purposely misleading and self serving. You or I would never be prescribed that level of morphine or lorazepam as healthy individuals, and definitely not in tandem unless we were dying, because they often lead to a sedation that aids the transition to death. Comfort care is for that purpose, comforting the transition period and this medication would simply be another option during end of life comfort care planning. Patients at this time in Maryland at the end of their lives can choose to terminate medical interventions; all courses of medical treatments; necessary medications; sustenance; be administered comfort care prescriptions; etc.; and their death certificates always reflect the underlying condition as cause of death. How is this end of life option any different if the intent of comfort remains the same and the same result, which is the unavoidable death of the terminally ill patient, occurs? This prescription is not given to healthy individuals, those with reduced mental capacities, those that have lost all physical capabilities, or those with mental health issues as you are well aware due the protections to prevent those individuals from being taken advantage of as written into this legislation.
I am late to supporting this particular legislation. I held great reserve in regard to “death with dignity” bills and what that meant. I am always concerned about guardianship issues and how our aging population is treated. I was very concerned with someone having medical power of attorney over someone and using this on them, this bill safeguards against that scenario I believe. I have thoroughly researched this topic again this year and I am very comfortable with this particular legislation as I believe it allows those that are dying another option to consider during the final stages of life planning. I am also deeply concerned about all the testimony from people saying how someone else’s death was good for their family and watching someone die was unifying or inspiring and a chance to be together. Everyone can have that time together, have family bonding, pray together and spend those final days experiencing love and togetherness. Starvation, extreme pain, loss of control over your bodily functions, drowning in fluid, or suffocating during the final stages does not add to these experiences for anyone involved. Someone’s mental and emotional discomfort with someone else’s process of dying should not supercede the healthcare decisions of the person actually dying. The person dying has often fought for a very, very long time and wishes just as much as their loved ones surrounding them that this was not the end of their life. They too wanted to win their fight, they too wanted to stay and continue to enjoy everything life has to offer. Unfortunately that is no longer an option. I have recently sat with both my grandma (April 2018) and my uncle (three weeks ago) during their final days, they both chose hospice, and while the hospice care they received was excellent, it was not enough to combat all their suffering at the end. My family is Catholic and we support this legislation. As our loved ones lives were ending we wished for them the most peaceful passage possible from their earthly existence to their heavenly one.
I ask for you to vote favorable for HB399 and I have attached my testimony in full for your review. I look forward to hearing from you.