Monday, March 14, 2016

Oregon Health Report: Assisted Suicide Deaths at an All-Time High in 2015

by Genevieve Plaster
Charlotte Lozier Institute

According to the annual report from Oregon’s Public Health Division released in February, 132 people died from assisted suicide in the state – more people than in any of the 17 previous years and at a 26 percent increase from 2014.

Most individuals who died by assisted suicide were 65 years or older, either had no insurance or government insurance, and were not currently married.

Among the findings for Oregon’s 18th year of legal assisted suicide:

  • 132 individuals died in 2015 from lethal assisted suicide prescriptions – more than in any previous year, up 26% from 2014 and almost doubled from 2013 (73 individuals).
  • 125 individuals who died received the lethal prescription in 2015, while seven who ingested the lethal dose and died in 2015 received prescriptions in “previous years”(plural) – which continues to call into question the six-month terminal prognosis.
  • 218 people were prescribed the lethal prescription – up 41% from 2014.
  • Complications after ingestion of the lethal dose are unknown for 80% of those who died, as reports are only collected when the prescribing physician or another healthcare provider is present at the moment of death.
  • At least one person died from assisted suicide 34 hours after ingesting the lethal dose. In previous years, someone died 104 hours after ingestion.
  • 78% of those who died were aged 65 years or older.
  • 63% of those who died either had no insurance or a government plan (such as Medicaid/Medicare/other) compared to a 40 percent average in previous years.
  • 60% of those who died were either divorced (27.5%), widowed (26%), or never married (6.9%).
  • Nine weeks was the median time of the medical relationship between the doctors who prescribed the lethal dose and the patients who died – 10 weeks shorter than in 2014.
  • The three most frequently cited end-of-life concerns given by those who died were: “less able to engage in activities making life enjoyable” (96%); “losing autonomy” (92%); and “loss of dignity” (75%).
  • Five patients were referred for psychiatric counseling (3.8%).

The goal of the Charlotte Lozier Institute is to promote deeper public understanding of the value of human life, motherhood, and fatherhood, and to identify policies and practices that will protect life and serve both women’s health and family well-being. Our profound conviction is that the insights available through the best science, sociology and psychology cannot help but demonstrate that each and every human is not only “fearfully and wonderfully made” but blessed to be born at this time in human history. Use this link  for more information about this organization. 

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