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“End of Suffering Act of 2015”

Introduced 10/22/2015 by Barbara Boxer [D-CA] and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Purpose: To respect the Constitutional entitlement to liberty by recognizing the right of an individual to have personal control over the medical assistance and treatment necessary to alleviate intolerable physical suffering.

SEC. 2. Ensuring personal control over medical assistance and treatment.

(a) In general.—No Federal or State law, regulation, or agency action shall restrict the right of an adult who is suffering from an advanced illness with intolerable pain or a medically certified terminal illness, to receive medication or treatment from a physician for the relief of pain and other symptoms that limit activities of daily living.

(b) Limitation on liability.—A physician who treats an individual described in subsection (a) with a medication or treatment sufficient to control pain and other symptoms of the illness involved shall not be subject to criminal or civil prosecution or professional disciplinary action if the physician obtains the informed consent of the patient in accordance with section 3 as provided for by the Secretary.

(c) Rule of construction.—Nothing in this Act shall be construed to permit an individual to receive medication or treatment under subsection (a) based solely on the age or disability of the individual.

SEC. 3. Informed consent.

Within 1 year of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of HHS shall develop a written informed consent form that shall document the patient’s informed decision and witnessed by at least two individuals, for use under this Act, and issue guidance on situations where the use of such form is required.

SEC. 4. Definitions.

In this Act ADVANCED ILLNESS WITH INTOLERABLE PAIN means pain associated with one or more incurable and life-threatening conditions becomes intolerable enough that general health and functioning decline, treatment begins to lose its effect, and quality of life increasingly becomes the focus of care, a process that continues to the end of life.

INFORMED DECISION means a decision by an adult, to receive a medication described in section 3 after being fully informed by a physician of his or her medical diagnosis, prognosis, risks and feasible alternatives.


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