For the small but growing list of states that have Death with Dignity laws in place…
… the rights, procedures, and protections for both the patient and their health care providers are clearly and sufficiently defined and delineated.
For example, in order to quality for life-ending medication in the state of New Mexico (under the Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act), one must be:
- A New Mexico resident.
- At least 18 years of age.
- Diagnosed with a condition or illness that is incurable and irreversible and likely to cause death within 6 months.
- Mentally capable of making and communicating an informed decision.
- Physically capable of self-administering the life-ending medication.
Once the above criteria are met and a prescription for aid-in-dying medication is written, the prescription may be filled only after a forty-eight-hour wait period.
Importantly, participation is always voluntary and based on informed consent. The patient can opt out at any time and no healthcare provider is ever required to participate.
To my knowledge, each state follows the same basic blueprint.
I encourage everyone to download and read the New Mexico Aid-in-Dying Legislation for yourself (6 minute read): Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act
I’ve read every word and am perfectly at ease knowing that my rights will be protected, that I will never lose the power of informed consent, that my healthcare providers will be adequately trained, that these compassionate healthcare providers would be protected by law, and that all the procedures required will ensure the integrity of all the above.