Medical Aid in dying


What are your thoughts on death with dignity legislation? How has it impacted your job?


43 Posts

I am caring for a triple negative Stage 4 breast cancer patient who had such a negative, physical reaction to chemo that she just said "I'm done." and refused any further treatment. She was just diagnosed in January 2023 during an annual mammogram. (The first thing she asked me in February is "Can you help me? I don't want to be here anymore.")

Two weeks ago, Vermont opened their borders and their Death with Dignity protocols to NY and other out-of-state residents. My client must travel to VT for three evaluations and would typically take the medication in VT when she is ready - a fourth visit. (We live one hour from the VT border...) She is not allowed to bring the medication to NY for consumption.

So, there are travel logistics and practical issues to determine. She has already found and met with a physician (via Zoom) who is willing to take her as a client. She is now talking about modifying her will, ensuring she has a green burial, etc.

Of bigger issue is the psychological impact of the "impossible" suddenly becoming "possible". (NY's death with dignity bill is languishing at the state capitol.) I can see much impact on her care - both in terms of her having to travel while bed-ridden; needing to meet medical competency testing norms while under an increasing amount of morphine; dealing with the reality that she now has the challenge/opportunity and control of timing her death.

Also, many people rely on the local hospice organization to provide medication and some supplies to hospice patients. What impact will this have on their services??? Will they cooperate with patients wishing to leave the state for death with dignity? Will they pull services, medication and supplies from those patients?

Of concern to me is: The state of my licensure (New York) does not have a Death with Dignity law that protects healthcare givers. If I travel with my client to VT (which she wants me to do) - am I placing myself and my license in jeopardy by violating the NY Practice Act even though it is legal  where the action takes place (in Vermont)?

This is something I will need to consult with a competent authority about.


Has 18 years experience.

We have MAID in California. Information dissemination is the biggest issue. People might want it, but don't realize there is a process that takes about 4 weeks. Two doctors, psych eval, then med processing. Most here use an online pharmacy once scripts written by doctor. Some will say, okay now I want it, then are too weak to do all the steps by themselves. Maybe once it is has been available for more time and more people know people that have done it, they will understand there needs to be a plan. It is not a spontaneous decision for a 'legislated' reason. 




43 Posts

SunDazed said:

Maybe once it is has been available for more time and more people know people that have done it,...



Wow. I had no idea that CA had this option...! Thanks for sharing that! I just asked my daughter (in San Diego) if she'd ever heard of it - and she said "no"...