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Idaho Bill Mandates Some Futile Treatment

Posted Mar 03 2012 8:02am
Almost exactly two years ago, I  blogged here  that the Idaho Senate had passed a bill modeled closely on the Texas Advance Directives Act.  While it was never enacted, one year ago, Idaho  did enact  a controversial conscience clause statute.  

This year, some Idaho legislation proceeds in just the opposite direction -- empowering patients instead of clinicians.  The key language in S.B. 1348 would amend Idaho Code 39-4514(2) to include the following:  

Health care whose denial, in reasonable medical judgment, would hasten or result in the death of the patient, and that is directed by a [patient or surrogate], may not be denied:  
  (a) On the basis of a view that treats extending the life of an elderly, disabled or terminally ill individual as of lower value than extending the life of an individual who is younger, nondisabled or not terminally ill; or
  (b) On the basis of the health care provider's disagreement with how the patient or individual authorized to act on the patient's behalf values the trade-off between extending the length of the patient's life and the risk of disability.

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