Bridgeport woman with terminal cancer sues Vermont over assisted suicide residency requirement

A Bridgeport woman with cancer sued Vermont on Thursday.

Linda Bleustein, 75, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, has terminal fallopian tube cancer, and Diana Barnard, M.D., of Middlebury, Vermont, said in a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court of Vermont , argues that Vermont residency requirements violate the U.S. Constitution.

Vermont law allows doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to residents of the state who are terminally ill and expected to die within six months.

In an interview on Thursday, Bluestein said she had yet to reach the point where her life expectancy was less than six months, but it was her third bout with cancer and saw her mother die from the disease.

she said. “She doesn’t want her children to see that,” she said. “I want my last memories to be as strong as possible and to interact with them. Not adult diapers curled up in fetal position and dragged out of my head.”

In her complaint, Barnard said she wanted to be able to offer end-of-life options to patients living in New York. has been advocated.

The lawsuit was filed by the group Compassion and Choices, which bills itself as an organization that “expands options and enables everyone to plan their end-of-life journeys.” U.S. Constitution Disclaimer.

Bluestein and Barnard are asking the court to block enforcement of the residency clause.

According to Compassion and Choices, the Vermont lawsuit is the second lawsuit in the United States to challenge the residency requirement of such a law. Ten of the country’s 11 jurisdictions that authorize medical assistance to end people’s lives have residency requirements, the group said.

The organization settled a similar lawsuit in Oregon in March, resulting in a suspension of residency requirements in that state.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott’s office referred the question to the Attorney General’s Office, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mary Beerworth of Vermont’s Commission on Survival Rights, which opposes assisted suicide, said that if the challenge succeeds, Vermont could become a destination for terminally ill patients seeking to end their lives.

Bluestein is a retired community health professional who has worked with women and children. She was diagnosed with cancer in March 2021. At the time, she was given 6 months to 3 years to live and is undergoing treatment.

Ms. Bluestein said she met a woman with advanced lung cancer at a Connecticut survivor group who moved to Vermont to take advantage of state law.

“Every other day or so, she told me, ‘Don’t wait till the end,'” she said, noting that a friend of hers had established a Vermont residency and died earlier this year with the help of the law. Bluestein said.

She said moving to Vermont would be too complicated for Bluestein.

Under Vermont’s 2013 End-of-Life Patient Selection and Management Act, if a patient is determined to have less than six months to live, the patient may ask their doctor to prescribe a drug to hasten death. I can. The process requires both verbal and written requests, witnesses, and a second opinion from another doctor.

Doctors and pharmacists do not have to participate in actual suicides.

In a January report, the Vermont Department of Health said 116 people used the law between May 31, 2013, when it went into effect, and June 30, 2021. Overall, 77% of him had cancer.

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