Monday, March 9, 2020

Oregon assisted suicide deaths increase again in 2019

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The 2019 Oregon assisted suicide report indicates that the number of assisted suicide deaths is up in 2019 over  2018 Oregon assisted suicide report. As with 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 2019 Oregon assisted suicide report.
  • There were 188 reported assisted suicide deaths up from 178 in 2018.
  • 18 of the deaths, the lethal drugs were prescribed in previous years.
  • 1 patient was referred for a psychological or psychiatric evaluation.
  • 1 physicians was referred to the Oregon Medical Board for failure to comply with the law.
  • The time of death ranged from 1 minute to 47 hours.
  • In 2019 one person died 1503 days (more than 4 years) after requesting assisted suicide.
  • 58 people received lethal prescriptions, but their "ingestion" status is unknown.
  • There were 290 lethal prescriptions written, up from 249 in 2018.
*Order the pamphlet - Shedding light on assisted suicide in America.
There are more assisted suicide deaths.

According to the 2019 Oregon report, the ingestion status was unknown in 58 deaths. The 2018 report stated that 168 people died by assisted suicide and the ingestion status was unknown in 43 deaths. The 2019 report was amended to state that 178 people died by assisted suicide in 2018.

When the ingestion status is unknown, it is possible that the person died by assisted suicide. Some or all of these deaths may represent unreported assisted deaths.


Oregon Governor Kate Brown, in July 2019, signing Bill SB 0579 into law. This bill, essentially, eliminates the 15 day assisted suicide waiting period. This expansion of assisted suicide allows a person who is approved for assisted suicide to die within days, and if depressed, the patient loses the opportunity to change their mind.



An article published in USA Today looked at experiments being done on people to find an effective lethal drug cocktail for assisted suicide. 

The current drug cocktails have caused painful assisted suicide deaths that may take many hours to die.

The article states that assisted suicide researchers are promoting their third generation of lethal drug cocktails. The results of the first two lethal drug cocktails were:

The (first) turned out to be too harsh, burning patients’ mouths and throats, causing some to scream in pain. The second drug mix, used 67 times, has led to deaths that stretched out hours in some patients — and up to 31 hours in one case.
These are unethical human experiments.
Oregon Health authority has an expanded definition of terminal.

In December 2017, Fabian Stahle, a Swedish researcher who is concerned about assisted suicide, communicated by email with a representative of the Oregon Health Authority.
Stahle confirmed that the definition of terminal illness, used by the Oregon Health Authority includes people who may become terminally ill if they refuse effective medical treatment.
The responses to Stahle from the Oregon Health Authority also confirmed that there is no effective oversight of the Oregon assisted suicide law. 
The yearly Oregon DWD reports are based on data from the physicians who prescribe and carry-out the assisted suicide death and the data is not independently verified. Therefore, we don't know if the information from these reports is accurate or if abuse of the law occurs.

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