Saturday, February 10, 2018

Purported Protections Negated by Other Bill Provisions; Not Enforceable.

HB 2218 &  HB 2736, seeking to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia in Hawaii, contain purported patient protections such as a the participation of a second doctor and waiting periods.[1] The bills, however, also hold doctors that the attending provider is merely to ensure that all “appropriate” steps are carried out.[4] In addition, the provider is held to an “accordance” standard. The bill states:
The attending provider shall: . . .

(11) Ensure that all appropriate steps are carried out in accordance with this chapter . . . .  (Emphasis added).[5]
The bill does not define “accordance.”[6] Dictionary definitions include “in the spirit of,” meaning “in thought or intention.”[7] With these definitions, the attending provider’s mere thought or intention to comply is good enough. The purported safeguards are unenforceable.

[1]  HB 2739, § 1, p.2, lines 11-12.
[2]  Id , p.3, lines 14-16.
[3]  The bill§ 4,  p. 9, line 13 to p. 11, states:
(a) The attending provider shall: . . . 
(4) Refer the patient to a consulting provider for medical confirmation of the diagnosis, and for a determination that the patient is capable and acting voluntarily; . . . [and]
(8) Inform the patient that a qualified patient may rescind the request at any time and in any manner, and offer the qualified patient an opportunity to rescind at the time of the qualified patient's second oral request made pursuant to section - 9 . . . . (Emphasis added).
[4]  The bill, § 4, states::
(a) The attending provider shall: . . .  
(11) Ensure that all appropriate steps are carried out in accordance with this chapter . . . . 
[5]  Id., § 4
[6]  See the bill in its entirety.
[7]  See definitions of "accordance" and "in the spirit of," here and here.