Federal Cruise Ship Death With Dignity Act – How much pain is too much? When does suffering become too unbearable? When does a person’s right to die with dignity, infringe on the rights of others?
Suicide, it’s heart-wrenching issue for individuals, couples and their families. It is a legal issue for most and even more of a moral issue for countless others. This article will not answer those questions you may have, but it will address the Death With Dignity Act, where it’s allowed and the rules which outline the processes.
However, the federal issue has remained unchanged, when it comes to ending a life by jumping overboard, it is still illegal and for a very good reason.
Some states, as with the marijuana legalization issue, have removed the civil penalties and now acknowledge an individual’s right to die with dignity. Both the Death With Dignity acts and Medical Marijuana issue have the same core principle, quality of life. Quality of life is the most important issue people with pain face. They should not have to suffer with pain; after all, it IS their body and their pain. As of January 1, 2019, 52 million people in United States, or 16 percent, have a right to die with dignity.
U.S. Federal Law
The federal law prohibits jumping overboard [suicide] as it’s interfering with the safe operation of a vessel. However, the right to die issue is not part of the consideration. Interfering with the safe operation of a vessel IS the issue. There is a fine, for interfering with the safe operation of a vessel, which can and has been levied in the past by as much as $33,333.00
46 U.S.C. §2302. Penalties for negligent operations and interfering with safe operation
(a) A person operating a vessel in a negligent manner or interfering with the safe operation of a vessel, so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of a person is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 in the case of a recreational vessel, or $25,000 in the case of any other vessel[cruise ship].
(b) A person operating a vessel in a grossly negligent manner that endangers the life, limb, or property of a person commits a class A misdemeanor.
The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1998 amended 46 USC 2302(a) by adding “or interfering with the safe operation of a vessel, so as to endanger” the life, limb or property of a person. While the previous version of the statute only allowed an operator to be charged, this amendment provided the Coast Guard the ability to pursue a civil penalty against any individual that interfered with the safe operation of a vessel.
Watching a loved one suffer through an agonizing illness or medical condition can be very difficult, especially when it’s terminal. But, when all hope is lost and the patient no longer has the will to live, does she/he have the right to end her life? It depends. Federal law doesn’t specifically protect the act of mercy killing or euthanasia, nor does it prohibit the practice altogether.
If intent on ending a life, jumping overboard is not a good option. First off, it is PAINFUL and second, survival is not guaranteed and the pain may very well exceed the previous pain the person was experiencing. Third, the finanical cost of medical treatment, which with a prolonged amount of medical care after survival, if the pain does not kill the person. The medical bills for life support from multiple traumatic injuries, could leave survivors with horrendous medical bills for many years to come. Death with dignity is a choice, but a life worth living for survivors, including family members’ emotional and financial suffering, has to be considered as an important issue as well.
People who jump over a cruise ship railing are called Rail Jumpers. In recent years, people have been surviving jumping over the railing into the ocean, becoming a source of funding for the United States Coast Guard (USCG ). In order to offset the cost of search, rescue and recovery, the USCG has been issuing civil penalties.
On June 16, 2018 a passenger decided to jump overboard during a dinner cruise which embarked from Columbia Point Marina, in Richland, Washington aboard the Water2Wine Cruises’ 96-foot luxury yacht ship Chrysalis. He was fined $5,000.
On July 2, 2017, at about 2100 hours, the cruise ship Bay Mist was returning to the State Pier in Portland, Maine, with approximately 90 passengers aboard someone yelled that there was a man overboard. The Coast Guard issued a notice of violation for a $2500 civil penalty to an individual who jumped.
On March 21, 2015, a male passenger jumped overboard from Washington State Ferry Kaleetan. The captain of the port, Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, issued a $5,000 civil penalty.
However, there are other options in some states, for who those who are suffering, Seven states have enacted Death With Dignity laws. Instead, the right to assisted suicide (also sometimes known as “death with dignity” or “the right to die”) is established by state law.
Which States Have Death With Dignity Laws?
Seven states and Washington, D.C., have death with dignity statutes statutes. On January 1, 2019, the seventh state will have a death with dignity statute, as Hawaii joins the west coast states with a death with dignity law.
- California (End of Life Option Act; approved in 2015, in effect from 2016) – Under the terms of the bill the individual must be over the age of 18 and possessing full capacity to make an independent decision to end his or her own life as well as be able to administer the drugs him or herself. Participation in all aspects of the bill is voluntary for all involved and the application must be made to both an attending and consulting physician with a gap of no fewer than 15 days, and should either physician request one, a mental health specialist such as psychiatrist or licensed psychologist. The patient must also be certified by the physician as having a life limiting illness with estimated less than 6 months to live and other palliative care options must have been previously discussed and considered. The law does not specify which drugs must be prescribed.
- Colorado (End of Life Options Act; 2016) – On November 8, 2016, Colorado voters passed Proposition 106, the End of Life Options Act, at the ballot by 65 to 35 percent (or 2 to 1) margin. The law went into effect on December 16, 2016.
- District of Columbia (D.C. Death with Dignity Act; 2016/2017) – Washington, D.C. is the sixth jurisdiction in the U.S. to enact an assisted dying statute. The D.C. Death with Dignity Act went into effect on February 18, 2017; implementation started on June 6, 2017.
- Hawaii (Our Care, Our Choice Act; 2018/2019) – Starting January 1, 2019 Hawaii will legally allow assisted dying, based on the Oregon and Washington state models. Governor David Ige signed a medical aid-in-dying law on April 5, 2018. The law has safeguards to protect against abuse, including two health care providers being required to confirm a patient’s diagnosis, prognosis, his or her ability to make decisions, and that the patient’s request is voluntary; as well as a counselor being required to determine that the patient isn’t suffering from conditions that may interfere with decision-making, such as a lack of treatment of depression. The law requires that the patient must make two oral requests for the life-ending medication, with a 20-day waiting period in between, and sign a written request witnessed by two people, one of whom cannot be a relative. Criminal penalties applies to anyone attempting to coerce people into obtaining life-ending medication or tampering with said patient’s request
- Oregon (Oregon Death with Dignity Act; 1994/1997) – Oregon voters first approved the Death with Dignity Act (DWDA) by general election in November 1994 by a margin of 51% to 49%. Ballot Measure 16, a citizen initiative sponsored by Oregon Right to Die Political Action Committee, asked if terminally ill patients with less than 6 months to live should be able to receive a prescription for lethal drugs and included many provisions to protect against misuse, such as two oral requests and a written request from the patient. The patient must also be referred to counseling if a mental illness is suspected. The law went into effect in October 1997 after an injunction delayed implementation. In November 1997, Measure 51 was placed on the general election ballot to repeal the Act. Voters chose to retain the Act by a margin of 60% to 40%. Since the law has been in effect, it has given Oregon residents and patients a full range of options when dealing with their illness. This law has allowed for patients to consult their doctors about this option (about 1 in 50), while then at least 1 in 6 patients go on to talk to their families about the matter.
- Vermont (Patient Choice and Control at the End of Life Act; 2013) – In May 2013, Vermont became the fourth state in the union to legalize medical aid-in-dying. Vermont’s House of Representatives voted 75–65 to approve the bill, Patient Choice and Control at End of Life Act. This bill states that the qualifying patient must be at least 18, a Vermont resident and suffering from an incurable and irreversible disease, with less than six months to live. Also, two physicians, including the prescribing doctor must make the medical determination.
- Washington (Washington Death with Dignity Act; 2008) – Initiative 1000 (I-1000) of 2008 established Washington’s Death with Dignity Act (RCW 70.245), which legalizes medical aid in dying with certain restrictions was approved in the November 4, 2008 general election. 1,715,219 votes (57.82%) were cast in favor, 1,251,255 votes during the united electorate (42.18%) against. There were 2,966,474 votes total. 30 of the state’s 39 counties voted in favor of the initiative.
Life Insurance Policies – Death With Dignity
If evidence shows you’ve misled the insurance company, it might withhold some of the benefit payment to your beneficiary or completely deny the claim. In most cases, companies will deny a claim if the insured person commits suicide during the contestability period.
In 2015, 505,507 people visited a hospital for injuries due to self-harm. This number suggests that for every reported suicide death, approximately 11.4 people visit a hospital for self-harm related injuries. However, because of the way these data are collected, we are not able to distinguish intentional suicide attempts from non-intentional self-harm behaviors.
Suicide Rates by Age
In 2016, the highest suicide rate (19.72) was among adults between 45 and 54 years of age. The second highest rate (18.98) occurred in those 85 years or older. Younger groups have had consistently lower suicide rates than middle-aged and older adults. In 2016, adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24 had a suicide rate of 13.15.
Suicide and self-injury cost the US $ 69,000,000,000 annually.
- Passenger Issued $5000 Fine For Jumping Off Cruise Ship
- 46 U.S.C. 2302 – Penalties for negligent operations and interfering
- Suicide Statistics – American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- Teen Commits Cruise Ship Overboard Suicide After Hate Crime
- The Cost of Suicides a Cruise Bruise Public Service Announcement
- MSC Opera Cruise Ship Bucket List Suicide
- Clarification – Cruise Ship Suicide Psychological Terrorism
- Murder-Suicide Darla J Mellinger Banner
- Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death
- Caring for the Dying: The Doula Approach to a Meaningful Death
- Let’s Talk about Death (over Dinner): An Invitation and Guide to Life’s Most Important Conversation
- Good Life, Good Death: The Memoir of a Right to Die Pioneer
- Talking About Death Won’t Kill You: The Essential Guide to End-of-Life Conversations
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