Catholic Conference of Ohio
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Catholic Conference of Ohio takes a neutral position on Ohio MOLST (Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) legislation

SB 165 deemed different from the MOLST's in other states

  • 2 May 2016
  • Author: Jim Tobin
  • Number of views: 4019


The Catholic Conference of Ohio is neutral on SB 165. The Catholic Conference of Ohio has closely followed the creation of Ohio’s currently proposed MOLST legislation. We were and continue to be an active member of the Honoring Wishes Task Force that developed this legislation. This Task Force and the bill’s sponsor welcomed and gave careful consideration to issues and concerns we raised. The MOLST form varies considerably from state to state. Our Conference has worked conscientiously with drafters of SB 165 to assure that Ohio’s legislation is consistent with Church teaching, does not change existing Ohio law regarding end-of-life care, and addresses weaknesses found in MOLSTs passed in other states.

Senator Peggy Lehner, sponsor of Ohio’s SB 165, accepted recommendations from our Conference and Ohio Right to Life. These recommendations included strict anti-euthanasia/assisted suicide protections. While our Conference remains neutral, we believe the current version of SB 165 prudentially addresses these matters.

SB 165 includes:

  • Includes a clear statement that "nothing in [Ohio statute] condones, authorizes, or approves of mercy killing, assisted suicide, or euthanasia”;

  • Applies only to an individual with a serious illness or frailty, “for whom a health care professional would not be surprised if the individual died within one year” (standard medical language)’

  • Maintains all of the safeguards in Ohio’s current advanced directives statutes regarding end of life decisions.  (These were tightly drawn in consultation with our Conference in 1991);

  • Provides for clear review and revocation of the form. The MOLST order must be reviewed whenever there is a substantial change in health status or the person transfers from one health care setting to another. A form that is not reviewed at least once per year, expires one year from the date on which it was signed.

  • Makes clear that the use of the MOLST form is voluntary. No one is required to complete a MOLST form, and this statement is included on the form itself. Furthermore, nothing in the legislation or on the MOLST form will create a bias in favor of more aggressive or less aggressive forms of treatment;

  • Maintains clear conscience protections for our institutions.

  • Primarily addresses concerns with Ohio’s current Do Not Resuscitate medical orders (DNR).  From a legal perspective, a major change created by this legislation is to sunset the Do Not Resuscitate form (DNR) and to replace that form with the more informative and consultative MOLST form;

  • Provides for informed patient consent, including a requirement that the patient (or the patient’s legal representative) sign the MOST form. The current DNR form requires only the signature of the professional issuing the DNR order (signature of the patient or legal representative is optional).  The MOLST form requires the signature of both the health care professional and the patient or patient’s legal representative;

  • Creates a patient-centered and patient-driven form which will allow the patient to better understand and direct his or her own end-of-life-care, including decisions regarding the administration of life-sustaining treatment;

  • Documents end of life medical orders in a uniform way in order to facilitate a person’s transfer from one health care facility location to another. The patient or decision-maker is encouraged to treat the MOLST like any other medical order (i.e., to review medical options and discuss them carefully with his/her health care provider in each new location).

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