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Key Votes

S 77 - Prohibits Liability for Self-Administered Lethal Dosages - Key Vote

Vermont Key Votes

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Legislation - Signed (Executive) -

Title: Prohibits Liability for Self-Administered Lethal Dosages

Legislation - Concurrence Vote Passed (House) (75-65) - (Key vote)

Title: Prohibits Liability for Self-Administered Lethal Dosages

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to concur with Senate amendments and pass a bill that prohibits a physician from being held liable for assisting a terminally ill patient seeking medication to hasten his or her death and establishes guidelines for physicians to follow when prescribing lethal doses of medication.

Highlights:
  • Prohibits a physician from being subject to any civil or criminal liability if the physician prescribes medication for the purpose of hastening a terminally ill patient’s death, effective until July 1, 2016 (Secs. 1 & 2).
  • Requires the physician to document certain information regarding the patient including, but not limited to, the following occurrences (Sec. 1):
    • If the patient made an oral request for medication to hasten his or her death in the physical presence of the physician;
    • If the patient made a second oral request for medication to hasten his or her death in the physical presence of the physician at least 15 days after the first request; and
    • If the patient made a written and signed request for medication to hasten his or her death in the presence of 2 witnesses who were not interested persons.
  • Defines an “interested person” as 1 of the following individuals (Sec. 1):
    • The patient’s physician;
    • The patient’s relative by blood, marriage, civil union, or adoption;
    • The beneficiary of any portion of the patient’s estate or assets; or
    • The owner, operator, or employee of the health care facility in which the patient is receiving medical treatment.
  • Requires a physician to wait at least 48 hours after the last of the following events occurs before writing a prescription for medication to hasten the patient’s death (Sec. 1):
    • The patient’s written request for medication to hasten his or her death;
    • The patient’s second oral request; or
    • The physician’s offering to the patient an opportunity to rescind the request.
  • Requires the physician to inform the patient, both verbally and in writing, certain information before prescribing medication to hasten the patient’s death including, but not limited to, the following (Sec. 1):
    • The patient’s medical diagnosis;
    • The patient’s prognosis, including an estimate of the patient’s life expectancy based on the physician’s “best medical judgment;” and
    • The patient’s available range of treatment options. 
  • Requires the physician to record the date, time, and wording of all oral requests by the patient for medication to hasten his or her death (Sec. 1).
  • Prohibits a patient’s beneficiaries from being denied benefits under a life insurance policy for actions taken in accordance with this bill (Sec. 1).
Legislation - Concurrence Vote Passed (Senate) (17-13) - (Key vote)

Title: Prohibits Liability for Self-Administered Lethal Dosages

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to concur with House amendments and adopt additional amendments to a bill that prohibits a physician from being held liable for assisting a terminally ill patient seeking medication to hasten his or her death and establishes guidelines for physicians to follow when prescribing lethal doses of medication.

Highlights:
  • Prohibits a physician from being subject to any civil or criminal liability if the physician prescribes medication for the purpose of hastening a terminally ill patient’s death, effective until July 1, 2016 (Secs. 1 & 2).
  • Requires the physician to document certain information regarding the patient including, but not limited to, the following occurrences (Sec. 1):
    • If the patient made an oral request for medication to hasten his or her death in the physical presence of the physician;
    • If the patient made a second oral request for medication to hasten his or her death in the physical presence of the physician at least 15 days after the first request; and
    • If the patient made a written and signed request for medication to hasten his or her death in the presence of 2 witnesses who were not interested persons.
  • Defines an “interested person” as 1 of the following individuals (Sec. 1):
    • The patient’s physician;
    • The patient’s relative by blood, marriage, civil union, or adoption;
    • The beneficiary of any portion of the patient’s estate or assets; or
    • The owner, operator, or employee of the health care facility in which the patient is receiving medical treatment.
  • Requires a physician to wait at least 48 hours after the last of the following events occurs before writing a prescription for medication to hasten the patient’s death (Sec. 1):
    • The patient’s written request for medication to hasten his or her death;
    • The patient’s second oral request; or
    • The physician’s offering to the patient an opportunity to rescind the request.
  • Requires the physician to inform the patient, both verbally and in writing, certain information before prescribing medication to hasten the patient’s death including, but not limited to, the following (Sec. 1):
    • The patient’s medical diagnosis;
    • The patient’s prognosis, including an estimate of the patient’s life expectancy based on the physician’s “best medical judgment;” and
    • The patient’s available range of treatment options. 
  • Requires the physician to record the date, time, and wording of all oral requests by the patient for medication to hasten his or her death (Sec. 1).
  • Prohibits a patient’s beneficiaries from being denied benefits under a life insurance policy for actions taken in accordance with this bill (Sec. 1).
Legislation - Bill Passed With Amendment (House) (81-64) - (Key vote)

Title: Prohibits Liability for Self-Administered Lethal Dosages

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to pass a bill that authorizes certain terminally ill patients to end their lives with physician-prescribed drugs, effective September 1, 2013.

Highlights:
  • Authorizes a prescribing physician to prescribe life-ending medication to a patient, provided that the physician performs certain duties prior, including, but not limited to, the following   (Sec. 1):
    • Determine that the patient is “capable;” 
    • Determine that the patient is suffering from a terminal illness that will result in death within 6 months;
    • Provide a terminally ill patient with the following information: 
    • The patient’s medical diagnosis;
    • The patient’s prognosis; and
    • The patient’s range of feasible treatment options.
  • Defines a “capable” patient as a patient that has the ability to make and communicate health care decisions to health care providers, including communication through persons familiar with the patient’s manner of communicating (Sec. 1).
  • Requires a terminally ill patient who seeks to receive medication to hasten the dying process, to submit a written request, signed and dated by the patient, and 2 oral requests made in the physical presence of the prescribing physician at least 15 days apart from each other (Sec. 1).
  • Requires a terminally ill patient’s written request to receive medication to hasten the dying process to be witnessed by at least 2 individuals who meet the following requirements (Sec. 1):
    • Are at least 18 years of age;
    • Sign and affirm that the patient appeared to understand the nature of the document and was free from duress or undue influence at the time the request was signed; and
    • Are not any of the following individuals:
    • The patient’s prescribing physician or consulting physician, or any individual who has conducted an evaluation of the patient;
    • An individual is a relative of the patient;
    • An individual who, at the time of the request, knows that he or she would be entitled to any portion of the estate or assets of the patient; or
    • An owner, operator, or employee of a health care facility, nursing home, or residential care facility where the patient is receiving medical treatment or is a resident.
  • Prohibits a physician from denying life-ending medication to an eligible patient who declines or is unable to notify his or her next of kin (Sec. 1).
  • Authorizes a health care facility to prohibit a prescribing physician from writing a prescription for life-ending medication for a patient who is a resident of that facility and intends to use the medication on its premises, provided the facility has notified the prescribing physician in writing of its policy in regards to such prescriptions (Sec. 1).
  • Exempts an individual from civil or criminal liability or professional disciplinary action for actions performed in “good faith” reliance and within the provisions of this bill (Sec. 1).
Legislation - Bill Passed (Senate) (22-8) - (Key vote)

Title: Prohibits Liability for Self-Administered Lethal Dosages

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to pass a bill that prohibits health care professionals from being held responsible by law if a patient self-administers a lethal dosage of prescribed medicine, effective July 1, 2013.

Highlights:
  • Prohibits criminal liability, civil liability or professional disciplinary action against a health care professional if a patient with a terminal condition self-administers more than the prescribed dosage of a relief medication and dies as a result (Sec. 1).
  • Prohibits criminal or civil liability against for individual for being present when a patient with a terminal condition self-administers a lethal dose of a medication that was prescribed by a health care professional (Sec. 1).   
  • Defines “terminal condition” as an incurable and irreversible disease which will, within reasonable medical judgment, result in the patient’s death within 6 months (Sec. 1).
Legislation - Introduced (Senate) -

Title: Prohibits Liability for Self-Administered Lethal Dosages

Committee Sponsors

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