Tennessee lawmakers hear testimony on “Death with Dignity” bill

Tennessee lawmakers hear testimony on "Death with Dignity" bill (Image 1)

Some say the only certainty in life is that it ends, now some folks in Tennessee think people should have the right to die on their own terms.

Tennessee lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe lethal medications to patients with terminal illnesses.

It’s called the “Death with Dignity” bill, and this week, members of the Senate Health Committee heard testimony from those for and against the controversial measure.

Political activist, John Jay Hooker, who also suffers from a terminal illness, was the first to testify in Tuesday’s hearing.

“I feel like I’ve reached the point where I am no longer useful, and that I’m a burden, and I’ve lost my quality of life. And I don’t think there’s any prohibition in this book that keeps me from doing what I want to do,” Hooker said.

Others who testified for the bill said the issue is fundamentally about patient’s rights. Those in support of the bill said it’s the patient and the doctor who have to ultimately decide is physician assisted suicide is appropriate, not the state government.

But those on the other side of the table said it directly violates the Hippocratic Oath.

“It will literally destroy the foundation of the doctor patient relationship which is trust, it will cause more harm than good,” said Dr. David Stevens, with the American Academy of Medical Ethics.

Stevens also said he fears that more than giving patients the right to die, this bill would give physicians the right to kill. Opponents also cited religious objections to the bill.

Lawmakers won’t take up this issue again until the General Assembly meets in January.

Copyright WJHL 2015. All rights reserved.

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