More than 80 interested guests joined us at our first conference at Charlotte’s UNC-C Center City on May 9, 2018, entitled “Expanding Medical Aid in Dying in North Carolina: Choices and Challenges”. Keynote addresses by Barbara Mancini, whose heart-rending story of her politically-motivated prosecution for an innocent gesture of helping her dying 93-year old father take his pain medication, and Atty Kathryn Tucker, Executive Director of the California-based End of Life Liberty Project and a veteran of court battles seeking recognition of MAID, set the tone and clarified both the need for legislation and the uphill battle to see enactment in NC. A panel of specialists and experts offered views on alternatives to MAID, such as VSED, self-exile to a state where the practice is honored, hospice and palliative care or, as a desperate measure, self-exit.
Atty Tucker elaborated on a different approach to MAID, now exercised in Montana, where doctors practice a Standard of Care. Ms Tucker explained that historically and culturally, medical procedures are defined and policed by physicians applying a rigorous best practice, learning from each other through peer-reviewed journals, continuing education seminars, medical school instruction, etc. In a state like NC where there is no statutory language prohibiting or endorsing MAID, physicians should logically be free to institute MAID as an offered procedure subject to using what the medical community deems to be a Best Practice.
A panel of legal, ethical, medical and legislative experts were invited to comment on Ms Tucker’s proposal, pointing out the risks and difficulties of proceeding without a clear legislative imprimatur.
Feedback from the audience was overwhelmingly positive, with the one consistent suggestion being to expand the timeframe for Q&A, even if it meant lengthening the conference by another hour or so.
DRNC wishes to thank all the presenters and panelists who made the conference a success. Charlotte Conference Materials