When you are sick, the last thing you want to worry about is whether you will receive complete and accurate information about your illness and your options. On a recent Vermont Edition program on medical aid in dying, a caller related her mother’s story:
“My mom was in hospice for 18 months and it was long and arduous… after she died, I wanted to ask her doctor why that option (medical aid in dying) was not offered to her.”
The options for your care should not depend on who your doctor is, where you live, or the level of research you have done on your own.
At Patient Choices Vermont (PCV), our goal is to help doctors and other medical professionals feel competent and comfortable having these discussions so that people who are near the end of life feel empowered to make fully-informed decisions. As PCV board member Dr. Diana Barnard says, “It’s all about listening to the patient with humility and compassion.” PCV is the only Vermont organization focused on the rights of people who want the option of medical aid in dying.
Calls to the PCV Helpline increased 30% this year. PCV doubled the number of educational workshops over the past two years.
As the practice of medical aid in dying continues to evolve, your support helps keep Vermont in the forefront. On August 25, PCV Board Member Dr. Diana Barnard, in collaboration with the national organization Compassion & Choices and Lynda Bluestein, a Connecticut-based patient, filed a lawsuit challenging the Act 39 requirement that patients be Vermont residents. The US Constitution Privileges and Immunities Clause guarantees freedom of travel and the right to receive services in another state. Medical aid in dying is the only medical service that is not currently available across state lines.
The residency lawsuit stands to make Act 39 fundamentally more fair. It has the potential to influence how aid in dying can be accessed nationwide. Thanks to your ongoing help, our team is prepared to explain the lawsuit to policymakers and we stand ready to support the medical community and the public when this change is made.
PCV is 100% funded by people like you. Thank you!
The PCV team maintains strong relationships with policy leaders. It is these relationships, along
with your support, that make improvements possible. Together in 2022, we achieved the signing of Senate Bill 74, allowing patients and doctors to use telemedicine during the Act 39 process and shortening the timeline to qualify. People are already expressing their gratitude. Thank you for being part of this effort!
None of us will ever know the full impact of the work we’ve done or the contributions we’ve made, but when it comes to the lives of real people who want to live with grace and dignity in their last days and months, the words of family members come close. As one of the PCV Advisory Board members wrote after her father said goodbye:
"The beauty of death with dignity is that it gives you those moments for last intentional connections." -- Samantha Stevens
Please support this vital work.
You can donate by mail or online at PatientChoices.org/Donate.
PCV is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Your contributions are tax-deductible.
Please consider a donation of $30, $60 or,
if you are able, $200, $500, or $1,000.
Or mail a check to:
Patient Choices Vermont
PO Box 671
Shelburne, VT 05482
All across Vermont, people tell us how empowered they feel knowing that our community is working hard to protect end-of-life choice and to facilitate access to the kind of care they want. Your contribution really makes a difference. End of life is a deeply sensitive and personal time, one in which we all wish for peace, freedom, and connection.