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Historic Day for Terminally-ill Patient's End of Life Choice Rights.

Vermont Becomes First Legislature to Enact End-of-Life Choice Legislation

MONTPELIER, Vt., May 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Vermont's leading end-of-life choice advocacy group, Patient Choice Vermont, today celebrates Governor Peter Shumlin signing into law historic legislation granting terminally-ill patients the right to control the timing and manner of their passing. 

"We are proud Vermont is the first state in the nation to establish this right through legislation," said Dick Walters, Patient Choices Vermont President.  "Vermont has taken a huge step forward for the autonomy rights of terminally-ill patients," he said.

The law is expected to trigger a broad range of improvements in end of life medical care, ranging from increased use of Hospice to more open doctor patient conversations about all the options available to terminally-ill patients. 

Walters credits passage of the law to the power of citizen activism and the willingness of key Vermont lawmakers to take a brave step forward.

He praises a number of key leaders, saying, "Governor Peter Shumlin's leadership and unwavering commitment to this change both opened the door and provided reassurance this change could and should happen. Speaker Shap Smith's steady hand and strong civil rights vision have been an incredibly powerful guiding hand. Attorney General Bill Sorrell stepped up with needed support and key legal counsel. Finally, Senator Claire Ayer brought courage, poise under pressure and an unwillingness to give up to the critical final years of this effort. She fought to get this bill to the Senate floor and to the Governor's desk." 

Patient Choices Vermont now shifts their focus to supporting the implementation of the law.  They've formed a transition team to provide support for public and private organizations involved in implementing the new statute.  "We are going to work in cooperation with existing organizations to provide information and educational materials for individuals and for the medical, hospice and caregiver communities.  We are committed to making sure that Vermont families have the support they need as they make end-of-life decisions," said Walters.  Patient Choices Vermont welcomes contributions in support of this transition and implementation.

Patient Choices Vermont is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to educate Vermonters about end-of-life options and to influence policy, regulations and practice that affect the terminally ill. We work to promote the best possible pain control, palliative and hospice care, and to enable terminally ill patients to direct their own end of life.

SOURCE Patient Choices Vermont

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