Kathryn L. Tucker, JD

As an advocate, I have engaged in multidimensional advocacy to press for recognition of the rights of terminally ill patients on various frontiers for nearly three decades. I have argued in favor of dying patients having access to as much pain medication as they need to get relief, even if it advances their time of death. The US Supreme Court recognized this right in 1997, including the right to a specific treatment known as “palliative sedation,” which involves physician administration of intravenous medication to eradicate consciousness, so the patient has no awareness of suffering, titrating the medication to maintain the patient in an unconscious state until death arrives. The Court found choice for such pain management to be among the liberties protected by the United States Constitution. In addition, I have engaged advocacy in both the legislative arena and through litigation to establish the right of a dying patient to obtain a prescription for medication to precipitate a peaceful death, a practice known as “aid in dying” (“AID”; sometimes referred to as “death with dignity”). Today, a growing number of states empower dying patients with access to AID, including Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont, California, Colorado, Hawaii, and New Jersey… continue reading.

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