20 Oct Judge rules against N.Y. right to die assisted by physician – NY Daily News
A Manhattan judge has denied the dying wish of three New Yorkers who wanted their doctors off the hook if they assisted in their suicides.
Steve Goldenberg, Sara Myers and Eric Seiff, who are all terminally ill, said they want nothing more than to be able to die in peace.
But for that, they said they need a little help, and don’t want their doctors to face any flak.
But state civil judge Joan Kenney said that while she was sympathetic to their plight, their doctors would have to stay on the sidelines.
Kenney said in her ruling that the U.S. Supreme Court has already found that New York state laws prohibit assisted suicide, and the statutes are not in violation of a patients civil rights.
“In New York, as in most states, it is a crime to aid another to commit or attempt suicide,” Kenney said in her ruling. “But patients may refuse lifesaving medical treatment.”
Doctors could face prison time if convicted of aiding a suicide.
At issue is the medical future Goldenberg, Myers and Seiff, and anyone else in New York looking for a doctor to help them end their life.
Goldenberg, 55, has been struggling to live with AIDS.
Myers, 60, suffers from ALS, and Seiff an 81-year-old lawyer and former prosecutor, is dying from bladder cancer that has spread to his lungs.
“Should I decide my dying becomes unbearable, I want my physician to be able to prescribe medication I can take to achieve a peaceful death,” he said in a statement when the lawsuit was filed.
They noted that in Oregon, where the practice is legal, about one-third of the patients who ask for the fatal prescription never use it.
A lawyer for the plaintiffs said they would appeal.
“We respectfully disagree with the judge’s ruling,” said their lawyer, Edwin Schallert
“We have plaintiffs that are dying of terminal illnesses and we believe it’s important to vindicate their rights.”
Assisted suicide is legal in Montana, Washington New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont.