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1. A political stalemate that has left most of New York’s population without critical decision-making powers in end-of-life situations. For years, to end this deplorable situation, the New York State Bar Association has been strongly advocating for a Family Health Care Decisions Act.

More than 75 percent of New Yorkers do not have a health care proxy designating a trusted family member or friend to make their medical decisions if they become too sick to make such decisions for themselves.

In 35 other states, plus the District of Columbia, there are specific laws that allow family members to make these decisions for sick relatives in the absence of a health care proxy. In almost all of the states that do not have such laws, court decisions grant these rights.

Unfortunately, this is not the case in New York. As a result, some incapacitated patients are denied appropriate treatment, while others are subjected to burdensome treatments that violate their wishes, values or religious beliefs.

[The above was part of a letter from the New York Bar Assn. to the New York Times)

2. The Minister for Health for West Australia, Jim McGinty, says he’s disappointed by delays to laws which will allow terminally ill people to decide how they’ll be treated.

Mr McGinty says the laws, which are commonly known as living wills, aim to allow people to plan in advance what medical treatment they should receive when they are close to death or in a vegetative state.

“It gives people the right to say I don’t wish to be artificially resuscitated or sustained, I want the life support machine turned off. It gives people that right to determine how they will be treated”.

Mr McGinty says that due to a lack of support in the Upper House he’s decided to defer parliamentary debate on the Consent to Medical Treatment Bill.

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