Medical Aid in Dying and the 2023 Session

 

After years of advocacy, the End-of-Life Options Act passed one chamber in 2019 but failed on a tie vote in the other chamber. This year the Governor-elect Wes Moore stated in a public forum that he is supportive and the Lt. Governor-elect Aruna Miller was a cosponsor of the bill, we feel that this may be the best chance we've had to pass the bill. The legislation would provide an option for terminally ill adults who maybe suffering to peacefully end their lives . 

We will provide bill numbers and links to the actual bill text when this bill is introduced. 

Medical aid in dying allows terminally ill adults to request and receive a prescription for medication that they may choose to take to bring about a peaceful death. To qualify, one must be mentally capable, able to self-ingest the medication and have a prognosis of six months or less to live. 

Although each jurisdiction’s medical aid in dying legislation varies slightly, well-established eligibility standards and over a dozen guidelines are applied in each case. 

Ten jurisdictions currently authorize medical aid in dying: California, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, Washington state, Hawai‘i, New Jersey, Maine and Washington, D.C.

According to a January 2020 Gonzalez poll of Maryland voters, 66% favor Medical Aid in Dying in Maryland.

How Does this Bill Work? To request a prescription for lethal medications, the bill will require that a patient must be:

  • An adult (18 years of age or older)

  • A resident of the state

  • Competent (defined as able to make and communicate health care decisions)

  • Diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to death within six months

  • Able to self-administer the medicationPatients meeting these requirements will be eligible to request a prescription for lethal medication from a licensed Maryland physician.

To receive a prescription for lethal medication, the following steps must be fulfilled:

  • The patient must make two oral requests to his or her physician, separated by at least 15 days.

  • The patient must provide a writ-ten request to his or her physician, signed in the presence of two wit-nesses.

  • The prescribing physician and a consulting physician must confirm the diagnosis and prognosis.

  • The prescribing physician and a consulting physician must determine whether the patient is capable.

  • If either physician believes the patient's judgment is impaired by a psychiatric or psychological disor-der, the patient must be referred for a psychological examination.

  • The prescribing physician must inform the patient of feasible alter-natives to physician aid in dying, including comfort care, hospice care, and pain control.

  • The prescribing physician must request, but may not require, the patient to notify his or her next-of-kin.

For more information, please contact the Medical Aid in Dying Issue Lead Rev. Alexa Fraser at MAID@uulmmd.org.