House Bill 195 has passed in the Idaho House and Senate and is headed for the desk of Gov. Butch Otter. In it, lawmakers seek to give local chiropractors the authority to administer intravenous and intramuscular medications, including IV potassium.
I understand that this bill was likely introduced as a response to the perpetual shortage of physicians and advanced care providers in our mostly rural state. I applaud the ability to look toward innovative and creative solutions to help close this gap, but I’d like to remind the reader, and hopefully some of our legislators, that this poses a large risk.
The infamous Dr. Jack Kevorkian used IV potassium in his physician-assisted suicides. Prisons throughout our country use IV potassium as the final step in lethal injection. Cardiac surgeons use it cautiously during their open heart surgeries. If we know how powerful this medication can be, why are we discussing the ability of non-physicians to use it?
When making laws that impact health care delivery in our state, please remember the Hippocratic Oath: first do no harm. The citizens of Idaho deserve better.
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Jonathan Miller, MD, Boise