IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
October 22, 2015
Mrs. Boxer introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
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.
This Act may be cited as the
End of Suffering Act of 2015.
Ensuring personal control over medical assistance and treatment
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.
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.
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.
Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall develop a written informed consent form that shall document the patient’s informed decision and be signed and dated by the patient, 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.
In this Act:
The term adult means a mentally competent individual who has attained the legal age for consent to medications or treatments described in section 2(a), under the applicable law of the jurisdiction in which the medication or treatment will be received, as long as that age is at least 18 years of age.
Advanced illness with intolerable pain
The term advanced illness with intolerable pain occurs when 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.
The term informed decision means a decision by an adult, to receive a medication described in section 3, that is based on an appreciation of the relevant facts and after being fully informed by a physician of—
his or her medical diagnosis;
his or her prognosis;
the potential risks associated with taking the medication to be prescribed; and
the feasible alternatives.