Hospice Group Takes ‘Neutral’ Stance on Assisted Suicide
The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine has dropped its opposition to physician-assisted suicide, adopting a "neutral" position on the issue, KPBS' "KPBS News" reports. The group said severe suffering can persist for some patients despite the most advanced pain management techniques.
Nancy Hutton -- a member of the group's board and medical director at the Community Hospice of Maryland -- said physician-assisted suicide "would be consistent with a palliative care approach" in such cases (Goldberg, "KPBS News," KPBS, 2/28).
Efforts to legalize physician-assisted suicide in California have failed the past two years. Assembly member Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) this year introduced a similar bill with Assembly member Patty Berg (D-Santa Rosa) and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles) (California Healthline, 2/20).
A transcript and audio of the segment is available online.
The "deadly mix" between private managed care plans and legalized physician-assisted suicide is a primary reason why a bill to permit the practice in California should be rejected, Marilyn Golden, a policy analyst for the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, writes in a San Jose Mercury News opinion piece.
According to Golden, managed care companies could "steer patients toward death" by denying them access to treatments that could extend patients' lives, especially because the cost of a lethal prescription at about $100 is far less than the cost of ongoing medical care.
Golden concludes, "We should reject this bill as bad medicine for California" (Golden, San Jose Mercury News, 3/1).