Quill v. Vacco Case 1995

All of the appellants died before this case was tried.  Excerpts:

No. 60 — August Term, 1995
(Argued: September 1, 1995 Decided: April 2, 1996)
Docket No. 95-7028
and HOWARD A. GROSSMAN, M.D.,Plaintiffs-Appellants
(Cameron Clark, Claudia L. Hammerman, New York, NY, of counsel), for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., National Association of People with AIDS, Unitarian Universalist Association [Coombs Lee’s church], Americans for Death with Dignity, Death with Dignity Education Center, Gray Panthers Project Fund, Hemlock Society, and Minna Barrett as amici curiae.
The action giving rise to this appeal was commenced by a complaint filed on July 20,1994. The plaintiffs named in that complaint were the three physicians who are the appellants here … in the final stages of terminal illness:   Jane Doe (who chose to conceal her actual identity), George A. Kingsley {AIDS} and William A. Barth {AIDS}.  The sole defendant named in that complaint was G. Oliver Koppell, then the Attorney General of the State of New York.  He has been succeeded as Attorney General by Dennis C. Vacco, who has been substituted for him as an appellee on this appeal.  According to the complaint, Jane Doe was a 76-year-old retired physical education instructor who was dying of thyroid cancer; Mr. Kingsley was a 48-year-old publishing executive suffering from AIDS; and Mr. Barth was a 28-year-old former fashion editor under treatment for AIDS. Each of these plaintiffs alleged that she or he had been advised and understood that she or he was in the terminal stage of a terminal illness and that there was no chance of recovery.  Each sought to hasten death “in a certain and humane manner” and for that purpose sought “necessary medical assistance in the form of medications prescribed by [her or his] physician to be self-administered.”
Plaintiffs Kingsley and Barth were then in the advanced stages of AIDS and therefore sought an immediate determination by the district court.
Mr. Kingsley subscribed to a declaration that included the following:
At this time I have almost no immune system function. . . . My first major illness associated with AIDS was cryptosporidiosis, a parasitic infection which caused me severe fevers and diarrhea and associated pain, suffering and exhaustion. . . . I also suffer from cytomegalovirus (“CMV”) retinitis, an AIDS-related virus which attacks the retina and causes blindness. To date I have become almost completely blind in my left eye. I am at risk of losing my sight altogether from this condition. . . . I also suffer from toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection which has caused lesions to develop on my brain. . . .I . . . take daily infusions of cytovene for the . . . retinitis condition. This medication, administered for an hour through a Hickman tube which is connected to an artery in my chest, prevents me from ever taking showers and makes simple routine functions burdensome. In addition, I inject my leg daily with neupogen to combat the deficient white cell count in my blood. The daily injection of this medication is extremely painful. . . . At this point it is clear to me, based on the advice of my doctors, that I am in the terminal phase of [AIDS]. . . . It is my desire that my physician prescribe suitable drugs for me to consume for the purpose of hastening my death when and if my suffering becomes intolerable.
In his declaration, Mr. Barth stated:

In May 1992, I developed a Kaposi’s sarcoma skin lesion. This was my first major illness associated with AIDS. I under went radiation and chemotherapy to treat this cancer. . . . In September 1993, I was diagnosed with cytomegalovirus (“CMV”) in my stomach and colon which caused severe diarrhea, fevers and wasting. . . . In February 1994, I was diagnosed with microsporidiosis, a parasitic infection for which there is effectively no treatment. . . . At approximately the same time, I contracted AIDS-related pneumonia.  The pneumonia’s infusion therapy treatment was so extremely toxic that I vomited with each infusion. . . . In March 1994, I was diagnosed with cryptosporidiosis, a parasitic infection which has caused severe diarrhea, sometimes producing 20 stools a day, extreme abdominal pain, nausea and additional significant wasting. I have begun to lose bowel control . . . . For each of these conditions I have undergone a variety of medical treatments, each of which has had significant adverse side effects. . . . While I have tolerated some [nightly intravenous] feedings, I am unwilling to accept this for an extended period of time. . . . I understand that there are no cures. . . . I can no longer endure the pain and suffering . . . and I want to have drugs available for the purpose of hastening my death.

Citation:  1996 WL 94848 (9TH CIR.(WASH.)))