February 2, 2009 – Seattle, WA – With just a month before the Death with Dignity Act takes effect, hospitals and other health-care institutions in the state of Washington are racing to learn the details of the law, decide if they will participate and put together policies that address the law’s many nuances and complexities.
The Death with Dignity Act, modeled on a decade-old Oregon law, permits terminally ill patients with less than six months to live to request and self-administer lethal medication prescribed by a physician. It allows institutions and individual doctors, pharmacists and other health-care providers to opt out of participating.
You are the CEO of a home health agency. How would you deal with this new law if it were passed in your state? How would you deal with an employee who refused to dispense lethal drugs if asked to do so by a patient?
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