Cona Elder Law


Medical Aid in Dying: Proposed Act Gains Momentum


With just two weeks left in the 2024 legislative session before the summer recess, the New York State legislature still has before it the Medical Aid in Dying Act (A995/S2445). The Act has been before the legislature for 9 years now. However, it now has the support and endorsement of the Medical Society of the State of New York, the New York State Academy of Family Physicians, and the New York State Bar Association. It appears that physicians are now more willing to alleviate suffering in patients and lawyers believe the Act has sufficient legal safeguards.

The Medical Aid in Dying Act allows terminally ill adults who have 6 months or less to live, who are mentally competent and able to self-administer medication to request life-ending prescription medication from a participating physician. The patient must make an oral and written request for the medication and the written request must be witnessed by two adults who cannot be the patient’s spouse, domestic partner, family member or relative, beneficiary under a Will or by the laws of intestacy, or an agent under a health care proxy or power of attorney.

Two physicians must confirm: 1) the patient’s medical diagnosis; 2) that the patient has a terminal condition and will die within 6 months or less; and 3) that the patient is mentally competent. In contrast to physician assisted suicide, a physician does not participate in the act itself. The terminally ill individual must be able to administer the life-ending medication themselves. No medical professional, loved one, or other person is permitted to administer the life-ending medication to the terminally ill patient.

Physicians can opt-in or decline to take part in Medical Aid in Dying. If passed this session, New York would follow the below states in making medical aid in dying legal:

  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Montana
  • Vermont
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Hawai‘i
  • New Jersey
  • Maine
  • New Mexico

We are following this law closely as it impacts our loved ones, our clients and our community. always, contact us if you have any questions. Our Elder Law attorneys are always available to address your questions and concerns. Call us at 631.390.5000.

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