On June 10, the Appellate Division in Petro v. Platkin held that plaintiffs did not have standing to challenge the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, N.J.S.A. 26:16–1 to -20. Plaintiffs, a terminally ill patient, a physician and a pharmacist, sought to enjoin and invalidate the act which permits an adult New Jersey resident with life expectancy of six months or less to make an “informed decision” to request, and his physician to prescribe, a life-ending medication that the patient can “self-administer …in a humane and dignified manner” N.J.S.A. 26:16–3. The requirements of the law are numerous and detailed, and simplified for present purposes

Treatment alternatives must be explained and the patient who must have “the capacity to make health care decisions and to communicate them to a health care provider.” N.J.S.A. 26:16–3. A “consulting physician” must confirm the diagnosis and terminal illness, the capacity of the patient and the voluntariness of the patient’s decision. NJSA 26:16-7. The patient must make at least two oral requests and a written request with at least 15 days between the initial oral request and the written request, and at least 48 hours must elapse between the submission of the written request and the writing of the prescription which the patient must be told can be rescinded at any time. N.J.S.A. 26:16–10. At least one of the required two witnesses cannot be related to the terminally ill patient nor “entitled to any portion of the patient’s estate,” nor an owner or operator of healthcare facility where the patient is receiving medical treatment or residing “other than a long term care facility.” NJSA 26:16-5. Significantly, “[i]f a health care professional is unable or unwilling to carry out a patient’s request” he or she may transfer the care of the patient to another professional. N.J.S.A. 26:16–17(c).