On Tuesday, New York State Senator Dr. Terrence Murphy (R-NY 40th District) met with the leadership of Chayim Aruchim at Agudath Israel of America’s Manhattan office, to discuss several important legislative issues. Attending the meeting were Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz, Dr. Yasher Hirshaut, Mordechai Avigdor, Esq. and Shai Markowitz.
The discussion revolved around ways to ensure that medical professionals are following the law when presenting medical options to their end-of-life patients. Currently the law states that medical professionals are obligated to present to their patients both palliative and aggressive care options. Various legislative options were discussed to ensure that the law is actually followed and that medical professionals don’t insert their personal values when presenting the patient with their options.
In addition, they discussed various problematic bills that had been previously proposed but not passed in New York state. One such bill proposed that hospitals only need to make a minimal effort to notify the patient’s surrogate before disconnecting life support. Another bill would have allowed hospitals to ignore the directives of the surrogate and discontinue life support based on what the hospital claims is the patient’s decision. Chayim Aruchim is aware of situations where the hospital made this claim when, in fact, this was not the case. Another concerning bill would have allowed “medical futility” to be a factor in a DNR (do not resuscitate) order.
Senator Murphy, who was elected to the NY State Senate in 2014, is particularly interested in health issues as he serves as a member of the NYS Senate Health Committee. Chayim Aruchim hopes to continue working with Senator Murphy on this and other important issues in the future.