HB 4135 Endangers Dementia & Alzheimer’s Patients

Legislators return to the Oregon Capitol this week.  Already some are seeking to pass a bill which would target Oregonians who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s. House Bill 4135 is scheduled for a hearing and possible work session in the House Health Care Committee at 3:00 pm on February 7th. It is believed this bill will move quickly because there are only 35 days in the 2018 regular session.

Last session a similar bill (SB 494) was introduced in the Senate by Senator Floyd Prozanski . It died in the House. The new bill, HB 4135, is chief sponsored by Speaker of the House, Tina Kotek.

“Supporters of this bill are touting it as a ‘fix,’ but the only fixing that is happening is fixing it so vulnerable Oregonians are left without protections and their right to basic care like food and water,” said ORTL Executive Director Lois Anderson. “One wonders what the true motivations are for this legislation.”

HB 4135 is purported to just be a bill that makes technical changes to the current statutory advance directive form found in ORS 127.531. However, over the last 25 years Oregonians at the end-of-life stage have been protected by the current advance directive and removing it from statute has legal consequences.

“The advance directive was put into Oregon statute back in 1993. I was then a state senator when a very well vetted bill was thoroughly discussed and passed. I worked hard to ensure the advance directive was in statute. If it were to be removed from statute, I fear the legal protections we carefully placed there could be jeopardized, potentially harming end of life decisions for vulnerable patients,” stated Representative Bill Kennemer (R- HD 39).

Under current Oregon law, a healthcare representative does not have the authority to make a life ending decision for an incapable person unless the representative has been given authority to do so, or the incapable person is in one of four end of life situations defined in statute.

If HB 4135 is passed a person who appoints a healthcare representative, but makes no decisions regarding end of life care, would be granting his or her healthcare representative the power to make a life ending decision for the principal even when the principal is not in one of the four statutorily defined end of life situations, and even if this is not the will of the principal.

A fact sheet about HB 4135 can be found here.

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  1. I oppose any change that is in conflict with a persons directive. It is simply illegal and violates their religious rights in many cases. What does Oregon have such little respect for life? I think egos want to leave legacy and have no respect for lifw, just convenience and pride.

  2. I oppose H.B.4135 because it leaves the decision to be made for certain rights for Oregon residences to be made by the govt. This is very unjust.

  3. I would say to our law makers—stop trying to play god with peoples lives in this state! We all know in the end is all about the money!! Shame on you! Vote no on HB 4135

  4. I very strongly oppose HB 4135. This is not humane and certainly not a decision for governments to make. It feels like murder to me and I agree it is about money.

  5. This comment is to both State Legislators,
    Please oppose HB4135 when you are voting !!!!! At almost 80 years of age this bill could effect my length of life. Senior citizens are still valuable and it is not the governments place to make end of life decisions for my family. Thank you for listening.

  6. I am the only living member in my family; I’m almost 71. I vehemently oppose HB4135, first, because it means that should I be in a state of health that compromises my ability to respond, I can be terminated (murdered). The entire body of law that shows no respect for the unborn (abortion) and elderly (granting a health care provider any right to kill them when they have not consented) is heinous and an abominable breach of human freedom and disrespect for the God-given right to life. As a United States citizen I expect my right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to be honored by government representatives. Second, in the present state of affairs, all anti-life legislation and talk thereof has marred all confidence that I might have had in the medical profession. Third, but most importantly, I expect my religious values to be respected by the legislature. This means I believe a person no matter how small or old or sick or incapacited has a right to food and water. My religion forbids suicide and the taking of life except to defend one’s country or defend it against threatened personal injury. God, the Creator of everything that fulfills his sublime purposes and Author of the gift of human freedom, is the one and only author of life who must be respected by those who wield earthly power.

    Diane Strutz, retired public school teacher.

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