Public Comments for: HB1095 - Health care; decision making, end of life, penalties.
I do not support any bills that criminalize folks
I am reaching out in hopes you will consider supporting House Bill 1095 (Virginia Compassion and Choices Act) in the Courts of Justice committee. This bill would authorize access to Medical Aid in Dying in Virginia. I am currently a medical student at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. In addition to being a future physician in our state, I reach out to you given my role as a caregiver for my mother during her 4 year battle with lung cancer which had spread to her bones and brain. Given the nature of her disease, and having witnessed her own mother's final days combating this very same disease, my mom was very interested in pursuing Medical Aid in Dying. She wanted the autonomy and assurance of a painless death, something that I think we all deserve access to given the vast medical advancements we are privileged to enjoy in the U.S. Unfortunately, the only jurisdiction near us at the time of her illness which had legally authorized Medical Aid in Dying was Washington, D.C. and we could not afford to relocate there from Virginia given the cost of housing (nor did we particularly want to leave beautiful Virginia). I think it is inhumane that we let one's zip code or financial means dictate the ease of suffering at the end of life, as well as the freedom to access the best services that palliative medicine has to offer. I hope you will consider supporting the bill. If you have any questions about Medical Aid in Dying, or my mother's experience trying to access this service in Virginia, please don't hesitate to let me know. With gratitude for your service, Lauren Canary, MPH MD Student c/o 2024 Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine M: 240-552-1044 | E: LBcanary@vt.edu
As a Family Physician who has cared for patients with a terminal illness who have requested such help and a cancer survivor myself, I whole-heartedly support Kory's HB1095. When this bill becomes law in Virginia, a patient will have the option to request a prescription to die peacefully, from a willing physician, if suffering becomes unbearable. Just having such a prescription relieves fear and anxiety and some end up not choosing to use it. In 2018, The American Academy of Family Physicians (my specialty with 130,000 members) adopted a position of "engaged neutrality" toward medical-aid-in-dying as a personal end-of-life decision and also rejected the use of the phrase 'assisted-suicide' or 'physician-assisted-suicide' in formal statements or documents. I urge you to support HB1095 Thank You.
I deeply feel that any competent adult should have the right to make a choice and be allowed to die in a compassionate and dignified way . I have seen many family members who suffered and die that was not able to make a choice and I hope and pray that I may have the opportunity to at least die with some peace and dignity .
I fully support Del. Kory's bill, as do many others (including George Will in a recent two-part editorial). My wife died in 2021 at age 73 after a downward progression to death following a diagnosis of ALS, a progressive, incurable, always fatal disease. While hospice care was instrumental in helping reduce her pain, she really DID want to end things sooner, without having to endure the progression to death that ALS entails. Unfortunately, Virginia did not offer that option, as do other states and countries. Contrary to the other commenter, this bill has nothing to do with "suicide." It has everything to do with allowing someone who is mentally sound and already dying from a painful, life-ending illness to decide when to end the pain. Allowing this option is to affirm the dignity of people who are suffering to decide when the suffering should stop. Without such an option, Virginia requires the patient, family and friends to be helpless witnesses to the cruelty of a progressive, life-ending illness. We as a society are BETTER than that. and our laws should reflect that value.
I've worked with palliative care programs and hospices for over 20 years. I am firmly against Del. Kory's bill for physician- and pharmacist-assisted suicide. We should not put physicians and pharmacists in this position. We should not encourage people to misuse medications to kill themselves. We should not equate medicalized suicide as a "death with dignity" nor a "compassionate choice". If the legislature were to consider any actions to support people with advanced illnesses, pain, suffering, and despair, let's begin with building on the progress of palliative care and hospice work in Virginia to ensure that high-quality healthcare reaches all corners of the state. Let's also fight the root causes of pain, suffering and despair. The National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization, as well as the American Medical Association, have spoken out against bills like this throughout the country.