Lisa Roach (JD ’17) addresses legalization of medical aid-in-dying at North Carolina clinical ethics conference

Stock photo of two people holding each others hands in a hospital environment

Lisa Roach (JD ’17) presented at a statewide conference of the Clinical Ethics Network of North Carolina with the theme “Conundrums in Clinical Ethics Consultation: Consciousness, Capacity, and Compulsion” held on Feb. 24, 2017, at NOVANT Health Forsyth Medical Center.

The session topic focused on issues regarding legalization of medical aid-in-dying in North Carolina.  It featured a case study of a terminally ill woman who advocated for this initiative prior to her death. Professor Christine Coughlin (JD ’90) moderated the animated discussion in which attendees expressed their opinions and concerns about this increasingly important end-of-life issue.

Medical aid-in-dying — also known as “Death with Dignity” — is legal currently in only six jurisdictions:  Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Montana, California, Colorado and District of Columbia. North Carolina is among 23 other states that are considering medical aid-in-dying legislation, according to Roach.

HB 611 (2015): “NC Death with Dignity Act” was introduced by Representatives Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford) and Susan Fisher (D-Buncombe). A revised bill will likely be introduced during the 2017 session, Roach says.

Roach is co-founder of Dying Right North Carolina, a 501(c )(3) non-profit organization advocating for enactment of North Carolina medical aid-in-dying legislation and overall improved end-of-life care