Monday, March 13, 2023

Oregon reported 278 assisted suicide deaths in 2022. Three suicide tourist deaths.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The 2022 Oregon assisted suicide report indicates that there were 278 reported assisted suicide deaths up from 255 in 2021 and 431 lethal prescriptions for death up from 383 in 2021.

The 2022 report states that there were 278 reported assisted suicide deaths and the ingestion status is unknown for 101 people who received lethal drugs. The 101 people who received lethal drugs and died but whose ingestion status is unknown, may have died by assisted suicide or be a natural death.

As with previous 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 2022 Oregon assisted suicide report:

  • 278 reported assisted suicide deaths which is up from 255 in 2021.
  • 431 lethal prescriptions which is up from 383 in 2021.
  • 32 deaths where the lethal drugs were prescribed in previous years.
  • 3 people died from assisted suicide from out-of-state.
  • 3 of the 431 people were referred for a psychiatric evaluation.
  • 109 of the 431 prescriptions, the 15 day waiting period was waived.
  • 101 people received lethal prescriptions, but their "ingestion" status is unknown. When the ingestion status is unknown, the person may have died by assisted suicide but no report was received as of the time of publishing the report.
  • The time of death ranged from three minutes to 68 hours. The data is only available when a health care provider was present (165 out of 278).
  • 1 physicians was referred to the Oregon Medical Board for failure to comply with the law in 2021.
  • As in previous years, the three most frequently reported end-of-life concerns were less able to participate in activities that made life enjoyable (89%), loss of autonomy (86%), and loss of dignity (61%)

A recent story published by the Daily Mail reported that an assisted suicide clinic in Oregon has started doing assisted suicide for out-of-state residents (suicide tourism). The Daily Mail story reported:

Oregon has become America’s first ‘death tourism’ destination, where terminally ill people from Texas and other states that have outlawed assisted suicide have started travelling to get their hands on a deadly cocktail of drugs to end their lives, can reveal.

In the liberal bastion Portland, at least one clinic has started receiving out-of-staters who have less than six months to live and meet the other strict requirements of the state’s Death with Dignity (DWD) law.

Dr Nicholas Gideonse, the director of End of Life Choices Oregon, recently told a panel that he was advising terminally ill non-residents on travelling to Oregon to end their lives, despite a legal gray area.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown, in July 2019, signing Bill SB 0579 into law to essentially eliminate the 15 day assisted suicide waiting period. This expansion of assisted suicide allows the physician to waive the waiting period, and if the patient is depressed, the patient loses the opportunity to change their mind.
In 2022, 109 deaths the physician waived the 15 day waiting period - in some cases the lethal poison was ingested the day after being first requested.

Assisted suicide activists have been experimenting for several years with lethal drug cocktails on people approved for assisted suicide. An article by Lisa Krieger published by the Medical Xpress on September 8, 2020 uncovers information about the lethal drug experiments:

A little-known secret, not publicized by advocates of aid-in-dying, was that while most deaths were speedy, others were very slow. Some patients lingered for six or nine hours; a few, more than three days. No one knew why, or what needed to change.

"The public thinks that you take a pill and you're done," said Dr. Gary Pasternak, chief medical officer of Mission Hospice in San Mateo. "But it's more complicated than that."

An article published in USA Today in February 2017 examined the experiments  being done on people to find a cheaper lethal drug cocktail for assisted suicide. The article states that assisted suicide researchers are promoting new generations 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.
The 2021 Oregon report emphasizes the use of the fourth generation of lethal drug cocktails show that the length of time to die has reduced but the problems with the use of these lethal drug cocktails continues.
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 deaths and the data is not independently verified. 
Data concerning complications and length of time of death, etc., can only be verified when a healthcare provider is present at the death. In other words, we don't know if more complications were not reported or if abuse of the law has occurred or if all of the information from these reports is accurate.


Voice of Gone Ballistic said...

Subject to verification. I am under the belief that Switzerland insists that deaths by medical suicide be videotaped. Is this true in other countries. It should be.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Yes, in Switzerland they need to videotape the death in order to prove that the death was voluntary and that the person took the lethal drugs themselves.