State Senator Dr. Terrence Murphy (R-NY 40th District) met with the leadership of Chayim Aruchim at Agudath Israel of America’s Manhattan office, to discuss several important legislative issues. Attending the meeting were Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz, Dr. Yasher Hirshaut, Mordechai Avigdor, Esq. and Shai Markowitz.
The discussion revolved around ways to ensure that medical professionals are following the law when presenting medical options to their end-of-life patients. Currently the law states that medical professionals are obligated to present to their patients both palliative and aggressive care options. Various legislative options were discussed to ensure that the law is actually followed and that medical professionals don’t insert their personal values when presenting the patient with their options.
In addition, they discussed various problematic bills that had been previously proposed but not passed in New York state. One such bill proposed that hospitals only need to make a minimal effort to notify the patient’s surrogate before disconnecting life support. Another bill would have allowed hospitals to ignore the directives of the surrogate and discontinue life support based on what the hospital claims is the patient’s decision. Chayim Aruchim is aware of situations where the hospital made this claim when, in fact, this was not the case. Another concerning bill would have allowed “medical futility” to be a factor in a DNR (do not resuscitate) order.
Senator Murphy, who was elected to the NY State Senate in 2014, is particularly interested in health issues as he serves as a member of the NYS Senate Health Committee. Chayim Aruchim hopes to continue working with Senator Murphy on this and other important issues in the future.
Meeting With New York State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried Pictured: Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz, vice president for community services, Rabbi Gedaliah Weinberger, Chairman of the Board of Chayim Aruchim, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and Rivie Schwebel, a member of Chayim Aruchim’s Board of Directors.
On Monday December 21st Chayim Aruchim representatives met with New York State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, Chairman of the Assembly Health Committee. Among those in attendance were Rabbi Gedaliah Weinberger, Chairman of the Board of Chayim Aruchim, Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz, Vice President for Community Services of Agudath Israel of America, Rabbi Berish Fried, Chayim Aruchim’s New York State project director and Rivie Schwebel, a member of Chayim Aruchim’s Board of Directors.
The main item on the agenda was New York State’s amended Palliative Care Information Act, which requires health care professionals to present seriously ill patients with all available treatment options. Chayim Aruchim’s representatives informed Assemblyman Gottfried that this law is widely being violated with physician’s failing to inform patients of all possible courses of treatment as well as projecting their own personal values into the discussion, telling them what treatment they would pursue if their own mother was in the same situation. Physicians are required by law to offer the option to their patients or their designated health care proxy, without any personal recommendations or suggestions, allowing the patient or their representative to make all decisions based on their own value systems.
Also discussed was the Assisted Suicide bill, with Chayim Aruchim representatives explaining to Assemblyman Gottfried why Jewish law opposes a measure of this nature.