Salem, Ore.—Oregon Health Authority recently released its 25th annual report on assisted suicide in the state. The report reveals that physician-assisted suicide prescriptions increased for the 23rd time in its 25-year history.
The predominance of short patient-physician relationships and time between first request and ingestion continued in 2022. At least one physician knew their patient for less than a week, and at least one victim ingested the lethal prescription only one day after the first request. Over half of the victims had no health care provider or volunteer present at the time of their death. Fifty-one had no provider or volunteer when the prescription was ingested, an increase of over 7% from 2021.
“The physicians providing these deadly prescriptions hardly know their patients and are often abandoning them in the last moments of their lives,” said Lois Anderson, executive director of Oregon Right to Life. “They have increasingly become absent even when the lethal drugs are ingested. That’s not care. That’s churning people through the ‘Death with Dignity’ machine.”
In 2022, 431 people received lethal prescriptions. In total, 278 people died from ingesting the lethal medication, including 32 victims who took prescriptions for assisted suicide acquired prior to 2022. Since the law was passed in 1997, doctors have written 3,712 lethal prescriptions, and 2,454 people have committed assisted suicide after ingesting the medications.
“The so-called ‘Death With Dignity’ Act continues to raise serious concerns, such as a lack of care demonstrated by the prescribing physicians,” continued Anderson. “Of the 278 Oregonians who died by physician-assisted suicide in 2022, only three were referred for a psychiatric evaluation, and the majority had no health provider present at the time of their death.”
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