March 18, 2019

Senator Abrams Supports Legislation Providing Aid in Dying

HARTFORD, CT – Today, State Senator Mary Daugherty Abrams (D-Meriden, Middlefield, Rockfall, Middletown, Cheshire) voiced her support for legislation discussed at public hearing today in the Public Health Committee that would provide aid in dying to terminally ill patients. This legislation would allow qualified patients to seek and obtain medication that they could self-administer for aid in dying, providing options to patients who are suffering and in pain.

Under the language of Committee Bill No. 5898, “An Act Concerning Aid in Dying for Terminally Ill Patients,” a patient diagnosed with a terminal illness with less than six months to live, and who has expressed their wish to receive aid in dying, can do so by making two written requests to their doctor after being proven to be in sound mind.

“I have been honored to hear the poignant testimony of the individuals and families who would be affected by this bill,” said Sen. Abrams. “It is a personal decision for an individual to wish to receive aid in dying, and it’s a decision that is not taken lightly. For so many, control over death can lead to a higher quality of life.”

Middletown resident Sharon Hines testified Monday in support of Committee Bill 5898. Hines, a nurse practitioner with more than 30 years’ experience working with people with cancer, has stage IV lung cancer and was told she has a prognosis of six to nine months left to live.

“The pain and suffering that often accompanies an advanced cancer diagnosis is frequently unavoidable,” Hines said. “I have been at the bedside of enough dying patients including members of my own family, to know that despite the best hospice care, not all pain can be controlled, nor will every patient have a peaceful end to their life.”

“There is so much fear and worry that comes with a terminal illness,” Hines said. “It’s not only about how will I die or when will I die but how much suffering will I have to endure. Having MAID as an option would relieve so much of the anxiety and fear and give me the peace of mind I so deserve. My experience working with cancer patients and having thoughtful discussions with my family, medical team, and more recently, my palliative care team, continue to validate my belief that Medical Aid in Dying (MAID) should be an option for those of us with terminal illness.”