Monday, October 28, 2019

If New York Follows Oregon, the Proposed Act Will Apply to Young Adults with Diabetes

Dr. Toffler
The Medical Aid in Dying Act applies to persons with a terminal illness or condition expected to produce death within six months. The Act states:
Terminal illness or condition” means an incurable and irreversible illness or condition that has been medically confirmed and will, within reasonable medical judgment, produce death within six months. (Emphasis added).[1]
Oregon’s law has a similar criteria, as follows:

Terminal disease” means an incurable and irreversible disease that has been medically confirmed and will, within reasonable medical judgment, produce death within six months. (Emphasis added). [2]
In Oregon, this similar criteria is construed to include chronic conditions such as insulin dependent diabetes.[3] This is because the six months to live is determined without treatment. Oregon doctor, William Toffler, explains:
In Oregon, chronic conditions such as insulin dependent diabetes are sufficient for assisted suicide, if, without treatment, the patient has less than six months to live.[3]
He also explains why this is significant for young adult insulin dependent persons:
[W]ithout insulin, a typical insulin-dependent 20 year old will live less than a month. Such persons, with insulin, are likely to have decades to live.[4]
He adds, "[M]ost diabetics have a normal life span given appropriate control of their blood sugar.[5]

If the proposed Act becomes law and follows Oregon practice, the Act will apply to young adults with insulin dependent diabetes, many, if not most of whom will have a normal lifespan.

Footnotes

[1]  The Act, Bills A. 2694 3, lines 16-18, and S. 3947, lines 13-15.
[2]  Or. Rev. Stat. 127.800 s.1.01 (12)
[3]  Dr. Toffler's Declaration, at page. A-38, see also page A-41 (attaching Oregon government report listing diabetes as an "underlying illness," sufficient for assisted suicide).
[4]  Id.