Earlier this week we learned that Colorado voters will have an interesting – and controversial – topic on their November ballot. Lawmakers will be asking voters to decide whether or not suicide through drugs for the terminally ill will be legal in Colorado. Initiative 145, also referred to as “Medical Aid in Dying” would do the following:
- Suicide drugs will be restricted to terminally ill patients who are at least 18 years of age
- Only individuals who have a terminal illness with less than six months to live would qualify
- The terminally patient must be able to self-administer the medications
- Two physicians would be required to sign off on the terminal diagnosis
- The patient would be required to be mentally competent
The Medical Aid in Dying initiative was just approved on Monday (August 15) as having enough petition signatures to make it on the ballot come November. Colorado would not be only state in the country to have some sort of initiative in place pertaining to suicide of the terminally ill. There are currently five other states that have some sort of law in place allowing those with a terminal medical diagnosis to take their own lives. Oregon passed the nation’s very first “right-to-die” law in 1998, followed soon thereafter by Washington, Vermont, and California just last year. In 2009, Montana’s Supreme Court rules that doctors could use a terminally ill patient’s request for life-ending medication as defense against any potential criminal charges.
It is important to note that two very similar measures as the Medical Aid in Dying initiative previously failed in the Colorado Legislature.
This is an important move for the state of Colorado and our nation as a whole, the healthcare sector has come under fire in recent years for restricting terminally ill patients from ending their own lives. This is certainly an issue of ethics and personal beliefs, but it is also something that should be approached from a medical and neutral standpoint.
We will be keeping a watchful eye on the upcoming election and keep you posted on any new developments. This measure would undoubtedly have an impact on the senior housing industry, as many patients residing in assisted living and skilled nursing facilities are faced with a terminal sentence, and there’s nothing they can do about it.