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06/13/2024 06:55 AM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20130&cosponId=15362
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: October 10, 2014 11:15 AM
From: Representative Mark Rozzi
To: All House members
Subject: Death with Dignity Act
 
In the near future, I plan to introduce the Pennsylvania “Death with Dignity Act” which would allow people with a terminal disease to, under certain conditions, request a prescription for medicine that would end their life in a humane and dignified manner. This law is largely based on an Oregon law which has been in effect for several years and was upheld by the United States Supreme Court.

My legislation mirrors Senate Bill 1032 which amends Title 20 (Decedents, Estates and Fiduciaries) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes and was introduced last year by Senator Leach. Under my bill, the following strict criteria would have to be met in order for a terminal patient to be prescribed life-ending medicine:
  • The patient would have to be a resident of Pennsylvania;
  • The request would have to come from the patient, on a form prescribed in the statute;
  • The request would have to be witnessed by two people, one of whom would have to be a non-relative who had no financial stake in the death of the patient;
  • Those witnesses would have to certify that the patient was of sound mind when he or she signed the request;
  • The patient’s attending physician would have to certify that the patient:
    1. Had a terminal disease;
    2. Had less than six months to live;
    3. Had no hope of recovery; and
    4. Had been told all of his or her options including the possibility of comfort care, hospice care, and pain control.
  • A second, consulting physician would have to examine the patient and the patient’s relevant medical records, and then confirm the attending physician’s medical opinion and verify that the patient is making a voluntary, informed decision;
  • If either the attending or consulting physician determines the patient is suffering from depression or any other mental condition that would affect his or her judgment, counseling would have to be ordered; and
  • The patient would have the right, at any point, to decide not to seek the life-ending medication described in this bill.

There are numerous other protections in the bill which will guarantee, that every request made under the Death with Dignity Act is voluntary, informed, and made without coercion of any kind. This bill will go a long way towards ensuring that people suffering from terminal diseases in Pennsylvania retain control over their end-of-life care. I urge you to join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.



Introduced as HB2548