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Idaho Futile Care Bill S. 1114 Stalled in House Committee--For Now

Posted Mar 16 2009 4:20pm
This is a follow up report about an urgent futile care threat we warned against twice last week at SHS ( here and here ): After being caught flat footed with the passage of S. 1114 through the Idaho Senate--a bill that would, in part, legalize futile care theory in Idaho and specifically authorize doctors to disregard a patient's advance written directive wanting life-sustaining treatment--opponents have gotten in the saddle. My sources tell me that real damage has been done to the futile care provisions as people began to look at what is really being proposed. As a consequence, a hearing that had been set in the House Health and Welfare Committee has been postponed.

That's good, but the bill--or at least the futile care part of it, since it is an omnibus involving many matters--isn't dead yet. (This is why I hate bills like this, the good has to be stalled to prevent the bad.) Now is the time to finish it off: All who oppose futile care in Idaho have to put their shoulders to the wheel and write their legislators opposing passage in its current form, send letters to the editor of local newspapers warning of the dangers to vulnerable patients, call talk radio, engage Internet chat rooms--any or all would be helpful. Tell your friends. Alert your colleagues. It's Paul Revere time.

I did thirty minutes on the radio to Idaho on the bill today, a good interview. But more needs to be done to spread the word since the Idaho media has not yet leapt to cover the controversy. Meanwhile, I am told, intense conversations are ongoing behind the scenes.

I think the futile care part of this bill can be killed with some more effort. That would be good for medicine, for vulnerable patients, and for the people of Idaho.
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