Published on: August 28, 2010

Here is a new development from USA reported by the New York Times, “Frank Talk About Care at Life’s End“:

Last week, over the objections of New York State’s Medical Society, Gov. David A. Paterson signed into law a bill — the New York Palliative Care Information Act requiring physicians who treat patients with a terminal illness or condition to offer them or their representatives information about prognosis and options for end-of-life care, including aggressive pain management and hospice care as well as the possibilities for further life-sustaining treatment.

The report also quoted the recent article in New England Journal of Medicine (see our blog) along with an October 2008 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, in which Boston researchers found that patients who had end-of-life discussions with their physicians:

were more likely to accept that their illness was terminal, prefer medical treatment focused on relieving pain and discomfort over life-extending therapies, and have completed a do-not-resuscitate order.

The bill was developed by Compassion and Choices, calling the decision “A Sea Change in End-of-Life Care” in the Huffington Post:

The bill, developed by Compassion & Choices in concert with our New York affiliate, passed the Assembly and Senate by large margins, but the governor’s signature remained in doubt because the Medical Society of New York pressed him for a veto. The Society’s inane claim that doctors who ask if their patients want to talk about palliative care, won’t also “fight” for their patients or “go the extra mile” to “aggressively recommend treatment options” defies both common sense and medical research. – Read more…