Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Vermont assisted suicide report provides scant information.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Vermont Department of Health recently released the (May 31, 2013 to June 30, 2017) assisted suicide report. The report provides very little information about the actual conditions or reasons related to the assisted suicide deaths of Vermont citizens.

According to the data there were 52 lethal prescriptions written causing 29 reported assisted suicide deaths. The 23 remaining people who received a lethal prescription, 17 died from the underlying disease, 1 died from other causes and 1 person died from an unknown cause and 4 are assumed to be alive

Unknown cause means, that the Vermont Department of Health has no idea whether the person died by assisted suicide or natural death.

According to the report underlying diagnoses fall into the following general disease groups: 
▪ 83% of cases are Cancer (43 total cases); ▪ 14% of cases are ALS (7 total cases); and ▪ 3% are other causes. 

In 48 out of 52 prescriptions the death certificate is on file with the Vital Records’ Office.

The American College of Physicians recently passed a position opposing assisted suicide. A resolution opposing assisted suicide is currently being debated in Congress.

Legalizing assisted suicide gives doctors, the right in law, to decide whether or not your life is worth living. Doctors decide who receive the lethal prescription and the doctor who prescribes the lethal drugs self-reports the death to the Vermont Department of Health.

Legalizing assisted suicide creates new pressures upon people who are terminally or chronically ill and is a recipe for elder abuse.

The disability rights group, Not Dead Yet, argues that assisted suicide is discriminatory and a violation of the Americans with disabilities act. I agree.

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