ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — “And how you want to die and how you spend the remaining parts of your life should be something that you have the option for,” said Melissa Milch.
Advocates lighting candles on Wednesday in memory of a loved one they lost to a terminal illness. They’re pushing for The Medical Aid in Dying Act in New York. It would allow terminally ill patients to receive a prescription medication that would help them die peacefully.
“It’s a very, very personal choice between you and your physician and your god. Lawmakers have no business being in the middle of it,” said Milch, who’s father died in June. Robert Milch was a physician and advocate for the bill. Melissa says her father knew the limitations for hospice and palliative care when it comes to end of life treatment.
However, opponents of this bill recommend patients look to those treatments rather than seek what they call, “doctor assisted suicide.” But Daren Eilert disagrees.
“And this is not suicide, this is someone who’s terminally ill. Will die. And this was within weeks, but she suffered. Needlessly. Please. Don’t do this to people. Let them have the option,” he said.
Eilert’s daughter Ayla, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of tongue cancer in September. She passed away earlier this month at 24 years old. Eilert says his daughter’s experience as a ballet dancer and yoga instructor gave her a high tolerance for pain, but her suffering was unbearable, needless and avoidable.
Senator Diane Savino introduced the Medical Aid in Dying Act in 2015, but it has yet to pass due to concerns over abuse and mistakes by doctors.
“We know the answers to all of the concerns that are raised. Everybody who raises them say ‘well how do we protect against the abuses that we know will happen?’ Well we have now 11 states and those abuses have never occurred.
The bill would allow patients who have six months or less to live, and deemed mentally stable to request the medication. Senator Diane Savino said it’s unlikely the bill will pass this session, but she will continue fighting for it.