Friday, March 5, 2010

Washington State "Death with Dignity" Statistics are Consistent with Elder Abuse; No Recourse for Elders.

The Washington State Department of Health has released its first annual report for Washington's Death with Dignity Act, which was enacted via a voters' initiative in 2008. The Act, which legalized assisted suicide, went into effect on March 5, 2009. A copy of the report can be viewed here:

According to the report, lethal prescriptions intended to kill people were dispensed to 63 individuals. The majority were 65 years old or older, and educated. Nearly half had private insurance. These factors are consistent with their being individuals with money. Older people with money are prime targets of abuse. See Met Life Study on Elder abuse at:

According to the report, 23% took this step due a concern about being a "burden." This is a marker of possible abuse because the person was pressured to feel that way.

Washington's Act is, regardless, coercive: An heir who will benefit from the death, is allowed to help the person sign up for the lethal dose; there is no requirement of consent at the time of death. See: Margaret Dore, "Death with Dignity: What do we Tell our Clients?," Washington State Bar News, July 2009. .

After the death, even prosecutors are required to treat the death (voluntary or not) as "Natural." Elders abused by the Act have no recourse.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Margaret Dore
Attorney at law – Seattle Washington


Unknown said...

Idiots! Put yourself in the position of some of these terminally ill patients' shoes. Would you want to end your pain and your burden on your family. Think about it!

Alex Schadenberg said...

Dear Amber:

No one is opposed to ending the pain.

But why do you think that a family member or a friend who is dying naturally is a burden. What does that say about you?

We are opposed to killing people, not killing pain.

Think about it!

sharon said...

we ARE burdens no one has the balls to say it out loud because it looks bad on them but how attentive have you been? you're busy.... we know we're also realistic let us out we're tired of this later

clyde said...

you're not killing me im taking care of my own business just like i did for the last 70 years
my choice

Anonymous said...

What if an elder has dementia ??? Do they get to chose ,, Or will there kids decide to do it for them ..... I have now learnt as I type what this does to families ... Its Murder ....... And I will now fight to keep my family safe in Canada and in the state of Washington