Rep. Fernandes and Diane Rehm Testify in Support of End of Life Options

Author, radio host speaks alongside local state rep...
Diane Rehm and Rep. Dylan Fernandes testify at the State House. (Courtesy of Rep. Fernandes)

From the Office of Representative Dylan Fernandes:

Rep. Dylan Fernandes of Falmouth testified alongside famed radio and podcast host Diane Rehm in favor of medical aid in dying in front of the Joint Committee on Public Health yesterday. Weighing in on An Act Relative to End of Life Options, Fernandes and Rehm testified that terminally ill patients who are mentally sound should have the right to end their lives with dignity.

“Everyone in our state deserves to be treated with dignity and no one should be forced to needlessly suffer at the end of their life. This is a deeply personal choice and terminally ill patients, with less than 6 months to live, should have the right to die on their own terms,” said Fernandes who testified at the hearing. “We all deserve the choice to die with dignity.”

The bill struck a personal chord with Rehm, whose husband, John Rehm, a former member of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, struggled with severe Parkinson’s disease and sought alternatives to hospice care. In the end, his only option was to stop eating, drinking, and taking his medications. “It took ten long days for him to die," Rehm said during her testimony. "I was there with him watching him grimace but knowing that he did not want to be stopped on the path he was on. In the end he died a very painful elongated death which I will never ever forget."

The legislation, filed by Senator Brownsberger and Rep. Kafka, takes every precaution to ensure that only the best interests of the patient are being served.

  • Doctors have an obligation to take every opportunity to preserve and extend a patient’s life, and this bill does nothing to prevent that. In order to qualify, a physician must certify that a patient is suffering from an incurable and irreversible condition, and that they have fewer than six months to live. 
  • Patients must only make the decision after significant consideration as the bill requires two distinct patient requests, separated by several weeks, and only once their judgement has been approved by a mental health professional may they receive medication.
  • To make sure that a patient is not being pressured by someone with ulterior motives, a sworn affidavit from a financially-unconnected witness is required before any request is approved.

The bills now await a report from the Joint Committee on Public Health pending further action.


CapeCodToday.com welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on CapeCodToday.com.