Sunday, April 1, 2018

Washington state 2017 assisted suicide report warns of complications.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The 2017 Washington State assisted suicide report indicated that there were 

  • 212 lethal prescriptions dispensed
  • 164 reported assisted suicide deaths, 
  • 19 known natural deaths, 
  • 13 unknown deaths and 
  • 16 where the death status was pending. 

The 13 unknown deaths could have been assisted suicide deaths. There were 242 reported assisted suicide deaths in Washington State in 2016.  Washington State 2016 assisted suicide report.

The lower number of assisted suicide deaths in 2017 was likely based on the availability and side-effects of the lethal drugs. 

The new assisted suicide drug cocktails that were developed to lower the cost, are known to cause negative side-effects. An article published in the Seattle Times stated:
The first Seconal alternative 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.
The 2017 assisted suicide report stated that at least one person died 35 hours after ingestion. So much for assisted suicide being quick and painless.

The main reasons people requested assisted suicide in Washington State was:

  • 90% Loss of Autonomy,
  • 87% Less able to engage in activities making life enjoyable,
  • 73% Loss of Dignity,
  • 56% Loss of bodily function.
Pain is not the main reason people ask for assisted suicide but the new assisted suicide drugs should make fear of a painful death a key reason to oppose assisted suicide.

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