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 Post subject: Ohio leads the way!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 2:43 pm 
Mechagodzilla
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A state senator is seeking to give prosecutors and the state's Attorney General a say in Ohioans' end-of-life decisions. This and other provisions and proposals are about to hit the statehouse in the wake of the national debate that centered around Terri Schiavo.

According to a letter circulated Friday to Ohio senators (a copy of which can be found here in Microsoft Word format), Sen. Jeff Jacobson (R-Butler Twp.) will be introducing a bill in the coming days to address "[o]ur laws dealing with health decisions."

The bill would "[e]nable[] the attorney general or prosecuting attorneys to present evidence to probate courts before the court determines whether to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment or nutrition and hydration."

In addition, the letter seeking co-sponsors for the proposed bill also details the changes the bill would have in situations when a person does not have a "living will, durable power of attorney over healthcare, or express consent":

Current law establishes specific individuals who are prioritized in a list of classes. Presently, only the highest priority class available can decide to withhold or withdraw nutrition and hydration; those individuals in a lower priority class who disagree would not be consulted until the matter is considered in probate court. This proposal would enable any priority-class individual to have a voice in preserving their loved one's life.
In the House, Democrat-turned-Republican Rep. Derrick Seaver (R-Minster) intends to introduce a bill that would go even further. His bill would direct the probate court to "give preference to the first individual" on the priority-class list who will:

(1.) will sustain the life of the individual (2.) will incur the cost of medical care for the individual
Seaver's letter can be found here (also in Microsoft Word format). Jacobson's letter asks for interested co-sponsors to contact his office by Wednesday, while Seaver's gives members until Friday.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:02 am 
Mechagodzilla
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Ohio's deathbed filibuster

Not quite two weeks after Terri Schiavo's death, states including Alabama, Louisiana, Michigan and Ohio have introduced end-of-life legislation to clarify proceedings for cases in which a patient has not left a living will. Perhaps not surprisingly, most of the proposals have a pro-life slant; Alabama's bill is called the "Starvation and Dehydration Prevention Act."

The hastily penned bills have already stalled in several states -- but members of the Ohio senate are just getting warmed up, responding to what they call the "tragedy surrounding the death of Theresa Marie Schiavo" by proposing to empower state officials and distant relatives. Blogger Chris Geidner of Law Dork has a copy of a letter from state senators Jeff Jacobson, R-Butler Twp., and Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, inviting other senators to co-sponsor a bill that would allow the state's prosecutors and attorney general to present evidence in family disputes taken to probate court.

In addition to inviting the state to influence judicial proceedings, the bill would reconfigure how a patient's various family members are empowered to make his or her end-of-life decisions. The language seems to set the stage for family feuds, a kind of deathbed filibuster that favors the right-to-life agenda: "An individual's guardian, spouse, child(ren), parents, or a majority of siblings all have a right to intervene when determining whether to withhold or withdraw nutrition and hydration in the absence of a living will, durable power of attorney over healthcare, or express consent… Presently, only the highest priority class [of family member] available can decide to withhold or withdraw nutrition and hydration; those individuals in a lower priority class who disagree would not be consulted until the matter is considered in probate court. This proposal would enable any priority-class individual to have a voice in preserving their loved one's life."

Geidner also has a letter pitching similar legislation in Ohio's House, which takes an even more extreme view. The sponsor of that proposal, Rep. Derrick Seaver, R-Minster, would give decision-making power to the first family member on the list who seeks to "sustain the life of the individual," provided that the family member in question is also willing to "incur the cost of [the individual's] medical care."

With Congress considering federal end-of-life legislation, and other states struggling with their own, Ohio has the potential to set a precedent -- one that will keep families fighting, and the government's hand reaching into the heart of their worst struggles.


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