Hospice Physician supports Medical Aid in Dying

Dr. Jeffery Wallace, a hospice physician in Broward County, wrote a letter in support of passing the Florida End-of-Life Options Act, House Bill HB1231.  This letter was distributed to all members of the Healthcare Regulation Subcommittee who may be assigned to review and vote on this legislation.  Here is a copy of his letter.

Dear Representative:
My name is Dr. Jeffrey Wallace. I have been a hospice physician in Broward County, Florida
since 2014. The purpose of my letter is to ask that you support the recently submitted House
Bill, H1231 where Medical Aid in Dying as an end of life option would be a legal medical
standard of care in Florida.
I have been a staunch advocate for improving hospice and palliative care for all seriously ill
individuals in Florida. As a hospice physician, many of my patients have witnessed severe
suffering among their own friends and families, and they want reassurance that if such pain
and suffering happens to them, we as healthcare professionals will not be afraid to respond.
To be clear, requests for Medical Aid in Dying do not reflect a failure in hospice and palliative
care. For some terminally ill patients, traditional end of life options are not enough. Even the
best hospice and palliative care cannot completely alleviate pain and suffering for every
person. It is estimated that as many as 8 out of 10 terminally ill patients with cancer experience
“breakthrough” pain despite being medicated with extended release long acting opioid pain
Only the dying person can and should be able to decide whether their pain and suffering is too
great to withstand. A large percentage of Floridians will experience a terminal illness, either
directly or indirectly. Terminally ill patients in Florida deserve to have all end of life options
available for consideration. This is the most important bill the Legislation will see this year. Our
Florida Governor has built his political image around protecting freedoms, individual liberties
and autonomous choices. It is time the state of Florida join the ten states plus Washington DC
and allow terminally ill individuals who have met the strict eligibility criteria, access to Medical
Aid in Dying as an end of life option.
Jeffrey Wallace, MD
Boca Raton, FL

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