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A doctor-prescribed suicide bill, titled “End of Life Options” (HB 160) was introduced by Rep. Baumbach on May 2, 2017. The bill did not pass in the 2017 session but carries over to the 2018 session. The Delaware Medical Society opposes HB 160.
Text of bill
A draft doctor-prescribed suicide bill to permit “Medical Aid in Dying” was circulated by Rep. Baumbach but not introduced. The 2016 bill had many similarities to Baumbach’s 2015 (HB 150) bill but also contained significant differences.
Delaware 2016 “Medical Aid in Dying” Draft Bill Analysis
(Primary sponsors: Rep. Baumbach & Sen. Henry, Rep. B. Short and Sen. Sokola)
This 2016 draft, which was not introduced, contained many similarities to Rep. Baumbach’s 2015 failed “Death with Dignity” bill (HB 150). Like HB 150, it would have permitted doctor-prescribed suicide.
Unlike the earlier bill, under the draft bill:
There was no requirement that the diagnosis of a terminal illness be confirmed by a second physician.
A prediction of a six month life expectancy would not have been subject to review by a consulting physician.
There was no requirement that a severely depressed or mentally ill patient whose condition may be causing impaired judgment be referred for counseling.
The decision about the patient’s ability to make a request would have been subject only to a hospice program’s inter-disciplinary group evaluation. [Sec. 2506B and Sec. 2511B (d)]
The patient would not have been required to make as many requests as in theprevious bill.
A second oral request would not have been required. [Sec. 2508B and Sec. 2510B]
Hospices would have been involved in all doctor-prescribed suicide deaths.
- To be eligible for doctor-prescribed suicide, a patient would have been required to be enrolled in a hospice program. [Sec. 2501B (9)]
- A hospice group would have determined if the patient was capable of understanding his or her request for doctor-prescribed suicide. [2511B (d)]
- The lethal overdose would be provided only to the doctor or the hospice program. [Sec. 2504B (a) (8)b 2]
- The hospice program would have delivered the drugs to the patient. [Sec. 2506B (c)]
Current law regarding assisted suicide
A person is guilty of promoting suicide when the person intentionally causes or aids another person to attempt suicide, or when the person intentionally aids another person to commit suicide.
Del. Code § 645
“Assisted suicide bill sent to House floor”
(Delaware State News — June 7, 2017)
The Medical Society of Delaware opposes the bill, and one member of the group said Wednesday he fears physician-aided suicide could lead to less focus on treatment and cures.
“Delaware lawmaker reintroduces assisted-suicide bill”
(Washington Post — May 2, 2017)
“Democratic Rep. Paul Baumbach of Newark admitted Tuesday that he does not expect to win passage of the legislation, which was tabled in committee two years ago, but wants to continue to shine light on the issue.”
“Delaware state Rep. Baumbach introduces bill to grant the terminally ill access to suicide medication”
(WDEL — May 2, 2017)
The bill next heads to the House Health & Human Development Committee.
“Physician-assisted suicide tabled in Health committee”
(Delaware Online — June 3, 2015)
Rep. Paul Baumback, D-Newark, said he requested that lawmakers on the House Health & Human Development Committee keep the “Death with Dignity” legislation in committee. By tabling the bill, lawmakers on the committee can always bring it back for a vote until June 30, 2016.
“Physician-assisted suicide bill introduced”
(Delaware Public Media — May 28, 2015)
Rep. Paul Baumbach so far is the lone sponsor on a bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide in Delaware he introduced Thursday. It’s the first time we did this in Delaware, so we’re going to walk before we run, said Baumbach. “We need to introduce the bill and have the conversation and we’re going to be doing that.”