As had been previously discussed, the District of Columbia was considering passing its form of the Death with Dignity Act (the “Act”) that is modeled after the Oregon law. The D.C. Council, in a 11 to 2 decision, voted in favor of the bill. A final vote must be held before the end of the year. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser has the ability to veto the bill, but in recent comments she indicated that she would not veto the bill and it would become law. Given D.C.’s status of not being a state, Congress will still have the ability to review and overturn the bill should it become law.
The Act allows a terminally ill individual who has received a prognosis of less than six months to request and receive medication that would end life. The individual must make two oral requests separated by at least 15 days to his or her physician. A written request must also be made before the second oral request is made and at least 48 hours must pass before the medication is received. The written request must be witnessed by two individuals who can attest that the decision to end life is voluntary. One of the witnesses has to be entirely independent, that is, not related or subordinate in some fashion. The individual has to be able to take the medication on their own without any help from medical professionals, caretakers, home healthcare aides, family or friends. Finally, the individual must be a resident of the District of Columbia. If the bill survives the second vote by the D.C. Council and Congressional review, D.C. will join Oregon, Washington, Vermont and California in enacting a death with dignity law. #endoflife #estateplanning #advancedirective #livingwill @deathwidignity @bgnthebgn