Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Exposing abuse of the Oregon assisted suicide law. Two doctors accused of alleged abuse of the Oregon assisted suicide law.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The recently released 2018 DWD assisted suicide statistics indicated that two physicians were referred to the Oregon Medical Board for failure to comply with the assisted suicide law. 

The assisted suicide report does not indicate what they were accused of doing or not doing and it does not provide references for the alleged abuse of the law.
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This is a significant issue considering the number of states that are debating legislation to legalize assisted suicide under the guise that there have been no problems in Oregon.

A search of the Oregon Medical Board disciplinary actions on September 15, 2018, Dr Rose Kenny was disciplined by the Medical Board. The order from the meeting states:
3.1 Licensee must not prescribe or manage the prescriptions for any medication for any patient enrolled in hospice care, 
3.2 Licensee must not prescribe or manage the prescriptions for any medication for any patient requesting Death with Dignity.
The Oregon Medical Board states that the matter is under investigation and it does not provide information concerning the reason for the order.

The minutes of the meeting of the Oregon Medical Board (October 4, 5, 2018) indicates that the Board approved the notice of complaint and proposed disciplinary action based on the possible violation of the Medical Practice Act as well as violations of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act.

Since the Oregon Death with Dignity Act concerns prescribing lethal drugs to intentionally cause death, it appears that Dr Kenny has been treated leniently, especially since this is not the first time she has been brought before the Oregon Medical Board.

An internet search found the article: Redmond doctor avoids losing license despite complaints that was written by Tara Bannow and published in The Bulletin on October 7, 2016. The article explains the agreement between Dr Kenny and the Oregon Medical Board. Kenny kept her medical license by accepting an $8500 fine and five years probation. The article in The Bulletin  states:
Kenny escaped what could have been much harsher punishment: She faced losing her license and a $10,000 fine. 
Since Dr Kenny agreed to a five year probation in 2016 and is now being disciplined for allegedly abusing the assisted suicide law, her medical license should have been suspended until the investigation is complete.

Defining assisted suicide within the framework of medical treatment means that abuse of the law is not brought before a court, even though the death of a patient has occurred. It is easier to hide assisted suicide abuse within a medical framework as compared to a legal framework.

Finally, the assisted suicide law was designed to cover-up abuse. The Oregon law has a self-reporting system requiring the physician who prescribes the lethal drugs to also be the physician who submits the report, after the death. Physicians will not self-report abuse of the law.

I have not found information about the second physician mentioned in the report. If anyone has references to the second physician please contact me at: alex@epcc.ca

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