SUMMARY: SB 494 removes current safeguards which prohibit surrogates from withholding ordinary food and water from conscious patients with conditions that don’t allow them to make decisions about their own care.
SB 494 is disguised as a tweak for Oregon’s advance directive document. However, the bill does much more than that. Clear legal definitions would be eliminated if SB 494 becomes law. Clear definitions in matters related to the advance directive give judges directions that cannot be changed when deciding a court case. Ambiguity, which this bill creates in numerous ways, gives more latitude for a patient’s choices to be interpreted differently than they intended.
NOTE: Senate Bill 494 is a difficult bill for the lay person to understand. All language in the bill that is italicized is in current law but will be eliminated if SB 494 is passed. Bold lettering is new wording added by SB 494.