A new survey shows that a majority of New York State doctors support legislation that would allow terminally ill patients to choose to end their own lives.
The survey was released Monday by Compassion and Choices, a nonprofit organization pushing for New York to allow for the option of medical aid in dying.
The poll by WebMD/Medspace found that New York doctors support the Medical Aid in Dying bill, which is currently under review by the New York Legislature, by a 67-19 percent margin (with 14 percent undecided).
If enacted, the legislation would grant mentally capable, terminally ill adults, that are given six month or less to live, the ability to request medication to end their lives. Similar end-of-life care options are available in California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Hawai’i, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
Dr. Timothy Quill, the founding director of the University of Rochester School of Medicine Palliative Care Program, said in a statement for Compassion and Choices: “This survey confirms what I’ve long believed: My colleagues across the state want what’s best for their patients and want to be able to carry out their patients’ wishes. There’s near-universal support for requiring that patients who request medical aid in dying be offered a referral to hospice if they are not already enrolled. The goal for dying patients must be to keep them comfortable and respect their wishes. I’m glad that New York doctors support patient-centered choices and support medical aid in dying.”
The Compassion and Choices survey contradicts another poll by the Medical Society of New York which found that a majority doctors didn’t support medically ending a terminally ill patient’s life. The society’s president testified to the state Assembly that the measure “could have a negative impact on health care among racial/ethnic minorities and the physically disabled patient.”
Compassion and Care dismissed that survey, saying that it used “inaccurate data from a flawed Survey Monkey poll.”
Last year, the Medical Aid in Dying bill failed to make it out of committee in both the Assembly and Senate.