The Maine Death with Dignity Act provides a structured, legal process by which qualified patients may request and receive life-ending medication from their attending physician under specific circumstances.
In order to qualify, a patient must:
- Be an adult (18 yrs or older) resident of Maine.
- Be diagnosed with a terminal disease and have a six month prognosis, confirmed by attending and consulting physicians.
- Be of sound mind.
- Be making an informed decision (as defined in statute).
- Be capable of ingesting the medication on their own without assistance.
- Submit two verbal requests separated by a minimum of 15 days.
- Submit a witnessed, written request.
Forms and More Info
Attending and consulting physicians willing and able to support a patient’s decision under the Death with Dignity Act have specific procedural requirements codified in the law. Physicians may have additional policy guidelines, depending on who employs them.
A physician check-sheet is available to help guide the process (click here).
All required physician forms may be found on the Maine Department of Health and Human Services website under forms for vital statistics (click here).
Read the full text of the law (click here and enter search for Chapter 271).
If you are a physician, pharmacist, or other heath care provider and have questions about implementing the Maine Death with Dignity Act, please contact us.
The Maine Death with Dignity Act does not require physicians or other providers to participate in supporting patients’ decisions to hasten their own death:
“Nothing in this Act requires a health care provider to provide medication to a qualified patient to end the qualified patient’s life. If a health care provider is unable or unwilling to carry out the qualified patient’s request under this Act, the health care provider shall transfer any relevant medical records for the patient to a new health care provider upon request by the patient.”