By Alex Schadenberg Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
The 2016 Oregon annual assisted suicide report is similar to prior years. The report implies that the deaths were voluntary (self-administered), but the information in the report does not address that subject.
According to the 2016 Oregon assisted suicide report:
There were 133 reported assisted suicide deaths in 2016.
There were 204 lethal prescriptions obtained in 2016.
There were 8 deaths from "other illnesses" which included illnesses such as diabetes, hepatitis and alcoholic liver disease.
Oregon's assisted suicide law lacks effective oversight.
The Oregon law enables two doctors to approve death by assisted suicide. There is no further oversight once the prescribing physician writes the lethal prescription. The prescribing physician was present at the assisted death in only 13 of 133 reported deaths in 2015 creating the opportunity for an heir, or someone else who will benefit from the patient's death, to administer the lethal dose. "Even if he struggled, who would know?"
After the person dies by assisted suicide, the physician who prescribed the lethal dose is required to submit a report. The information in the annual reports are based on the data self-reported by the doctors who prescribe the lethal dose. Since the physician is rarely at the death, and since the physician is required to self-report, therefore the system enables abuses of the law to be covered-up. Doctors will not self-report abuse of the law.
There may be more assisted suicide deaths.
According to the 2016 Oregon report the ingestion status was unknown in 10 of the deaths, up from 5 of the deaths in 2015.
The report states that numbers are excluded when the ingestion status is unknown since they do not know whether or not the person died by assisted suicide. It is possible that some or all of the 10 "unknown deaths were assisted suicide deaths. These deaths could represent unreported assisted suicide deaths.
Oregon 2015 assisted suicide report discussion (link).
Legalizing assisted suicide gives physicians the power over life and death. It is the physician who decides, it is the physician who prescribes the lethal dose and it is the physician who is required to self-report the act to the Oregon Health Authority.
It should further concern you is the fact that the assisted suicide lobby is now promoting assisted suicide laws that further lack safeguards.
We believe in Caring for people, not killing.