Thursday, January 24, 2013

Oregon 2012 Assisted Suicide Statistics.

Margaret Dore
By Margaret Dore, Esq.

Oregon's assisted suicide statistics are out for 2012.[1]

This annual report is similar to prior years.  The preamble implies that the deaths were voluntary (self-administered), but the information reported does not address that subject.[2]

Oregon's assisted suicide law, itself, allows the lethal dose to be administered without oversight.[3]  This creates the opportunity for an heir, or someone else who will benefit from the patient's death, to administer the lethal dose to the patient without the patient's consent.  Even if he struggled, who would know?

The new report provides the following demographics:

"Of the 77 DWDA deaths during 2012, most (67.5%) were aged 65 years or older; the median age was 69 years.  As in previous years, most were white (97.4%), [and] well-educated (42.9% had at least a baccalaureate degree) . . . ."[4]  Most (51.4%) had private health insurance.[5]

Typically persons with these attributes are seniors with money, which would be the middle class and above, a group disproportionately at risk of financial abuse and exploitation.[6]

Oregon's law is written so as to allow such abuse to occur without anyone knowing.  The new report is statistically consistent with elder abuse.

For more information: Assisted Suicide in Oregon, Evidence of missed evaluation for depression.

[1]  The new report can be viewed here: and 
[2]  Id.
[3]  Oregon's law can be viewed here:
[4]  Report cited at note 1.
[5]  Id.
[6]  Educated persons are generally financially better off than non-educated persons; persons with private insurance are generally well off; seniors generally are well off.  See " Broken Trust:  Elders, Family, and Finances, a Study on Elder Financial Abuse Prevention, by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, and the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, March 2009, Executive Summary, page 4 ("Elders’ vulnerabilities and larger net worth make them a prime target for financial abuse").

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