About Dr. David Pratt

Dr. Pratt is a board certified internist with sub-specialty certification in pulmonary medicine and preventive medicine. He has a medical degree from Tufts University and a master’s degree in public health from SUNY Albany.

He was The Commissioner of Public Health Services for Schenectady County, New York from 2009-2012. Currently he is a private consultant in public health, palliative care and preventive medicine.

The focus of his recent work is the provision out patient palliative care in the Schenectady area. He has been part of Care Choices team (operated by The VNS of Northeast NY) since it began in the fall 2013. Care Choices is the first large outpatient palliative care initiative in the region.

He has been active in the legislative effort to pass a bill that would allow New Yorkers Medical Aid in Dying. He is a member of the Board of Directors for MVP Health Plan.

Talk Description

When people are asked to think about how they want to die, they often say that they want to die at home, without pain, and surrounded by loved ones. The reality is that too few people actually get to have that kind of death. While hospice and palliative care have made tremendous improvements in the quality of care that people receive at the end of their lives, sometimes this care is not enough. Some patients, even with the best hospice and palliative care, experience tremendous suffering at the end of life and want another option. Medical aid in dying allows a terminally ill, mentally capable adult to request a prescription for medication from their doctor that they can take — at a time of their choosing so long as they self-administer it — to achieve a peaceful death on their own terms. Five states now authorize the practice, and with a combined 30 years of state experience, there have been no reported cases of coercion or misuse and it works as intended. Few people utilize the option, but countless more are thankful to have a choice should suffering become unbearable at the end of life. Dr. Pratt will talk about  why he is committed to ensuring that New York joins the growing number of states that are giving terminally ill people expanded end of life options.