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Physicians Role and Responsibilities in End-of-Life Request

New Jersey residents recently gained the “right to die,” as the legislature passed the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act on March 25, 2019. This act gives terminally ill New Jersey residents, who have six months or less to live, the right to request oral medication to end their life. Although terminal patients have a right to make the request, a physician cannot simply grant it. The Act includes several safeguards to ensure that a patient is making an informed decision. Two physicians must make a diagnosis that the patient has six months or less to live; the request must be made orally twice, as well as in writing; the physician must advise the patient of the opportunity to change their mind; and the physician is responsible for providing documentation of compliance with all requirements to the Department of Health. To learn more about a physician’s role and responsibilities when fulfilling an end-of-life request, read my blog post on our elder care and special needs blog, Peace of Mind.