The State Legislature recently adopted a law entitled “Aid and Dying for the Terminally Ill Act” which will allow a qualified terminally ill patient to self-administer medication to end his/her life in a humane and dignified manner.
The new law provides that New Jersey’s long standing commitment to individual dignity, informed consent and the fundamental right of a competent adult to make healthcare decisions about whether to have life prolonged through medical or surgical procedures withdrawn and withheld is to be honored and affirmed. As a result, a qualified terminally ill patient under appropriate safeguards and limitations can obtain medication that the patient may choose to self-administer in order to bring about the patient’s humane and dignified death.
As I indicated in the opening paragraph, there are a number of conditions that are attached to this new law which appear to be very reasonable in reading though I do disagree with some of the provisions as being a bit onerous and bureaucratic. Still the law serves a very valuable purpose. Having been with thousands of families over many years, I believe this law is appropriate and a responsible recognition of America’s aging population and the substantial burdens that many terminally ill persons face in the dying process.
While there are a number of individuals and organizations that believe that assistance in ending life is contrary to religious convictions, it is a suitable subject for discussion by all concerned.
I have copies of this Legislation available for anyone that may be interested. Please contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be our pleasure to send you a copy.
By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County, NJ Elder Law Attorney