Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oregon offers terminal patients Doctor-Assisted Suicide instead of Medical Care

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Fox news reported that Randy Stroup (53) of Dexter Oregon, who has prostate cancer, received a letter from the (LIPA) who administer the Oregon Health plan in Lane county that the Oregon Health plan would not pay for expensive chemotherapy but they would pay for assisted suicide.

Stroup stated to Fox News: 
"It dropped my chin to the floor, (How could they) not pay for medication that would help my life and yet offer to pay to end my life?"
In the state of Oregon, assisted suicide has been legal for more than 10 years. It began as an option for terminally people who were suffering and it is now becoming a treatment offer for all people with terminal conditions.

This is not the first case like this that has been uncovered by the media.

Barbara Wagner
On June 3rd I wrote about the story of Barbara Wagner, who was prescribed a drug for her lung cancer but was told by (LIPA) that they would pay for palliative care or assisted suicide, but not the chemo pills that her oncologist had noted was an effective treatment for her condition.

In Wagner's case the pharmaceutical company offered her free access to the effective drug for one year. She was truly given the gift of life by the pharmaceutical company.

Barbara Wagner story:

How many other people have been denied effective, necessary, but expensive treatment for cancer or other conditions but offered payment by (LIPA) for palliative care or physician-assisted suicide.

Fox interviewed Dr. William Toffler, a professor of family medicine at Oregon Health & Science University.

Toffler stated that:
"Oregon doesn't cover life-prolonging treatment unless there is better than a 5 percent chance it will help the patients live for five more years - but it covers doctor-assisted suicide, defining it as a means of providing comfort, no different from hospice care or pain medication. 
"It's chilling when you think about it, It absolutely conveys to the patient that continued living isn't worthwhile," said Toffler.
Dr. John Sattenspiel, LIPA's senior medical director defends the measures by emphasizing preventative care and cost effectiveness.
"I have had patients who would consider knowing that this is part of the range of comfort care or palliative care services that are still available to them, they would be comforted by that."
Stroup has fought back. He said that suicide was never an option for him. The Oregon Health Plan eventually reversed its decision and is now paying for his chemotherapy. He has hope that he will be around a little longer for his 80-year-old mother and his five grandchildren.

Washington State voters need to read about Randy Stroup and Barbara Wagner before voting in favor of the I-1000 that would legalise Oregon style assisted suicide in that state.

The story:,2933,392962,00.html

Recent story about Barbara Wagner:

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