Idaho Lawmakers Pass Death Bill

Mar 28, 2012

Idaho lawmakers passed what’s known as the “death bill” Wednesday. The bill forbids doctors from refusing treatments such as food and fluids to dying patients who have said they want them. Democratic Representative John Rusche of Lewiston, a retired physician , said at first he was offended by the bill, specifically by the implication that any Idaho doctor would not listen to the desires of a patient on this issue. But he said some amendments had made it more palatable.

“I think that I probably will come down on the side of voting in favor," he said "because it does clearly state that the personal wishes of the patient take precedence. And I think it’s well for us to remember that in other situations as well.” 

In 2011 and 2010 Idaho legislators passed laws allowing physicians and other health care providers to refuse end of life care that violated their conscience such as requests to remove feeding or fluid tubes. Today's bill now heads to the governor's desk.