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Assisted Suicide

Latest Oregon assisted suicide report paints a depressing picture

18 March 2020

The total number of people helped to die in Oregon State has increased again, according to the most recent report.

In 2018, there were 178 cases involving assisted suicide. This has increased to 188 in 2019. While that might seem a very small increase, the equivalent number for the UK based on population size (Oregon has 4.2m people, the UK has 66.4m) would be 2,954.

Apart from further evidence of higher numbers, the report disturbingly reveals that doctors gave 290 prescriptions for assisted suicide, but authorities have no clue weather 37 patients are alive or not.

The reportalso shows that some doctors have been approving requests for lethal medication, despite only knowing the patients for a week.

Oregon assisted suicide deaths often cite fear of being a burden as a key influence in their decision. Evidence from places where assisted suicide is legal proves that the fear of being a burden on loved ones, friends and caregivers can be a strong motive for patients to choose to end their own lives.

In 2019, the proportion of patients citing this reason increased to three in five (59%). It is also noteworthy that the proportion citing financial costs on ongoing treatment has increased to 7.4% last year. Concerns about pain relief were cited by 33%.

Out of the 188 deaths, six suffered complications including difficulty ingesting or regurgitating the prescribed drugs. 55 suffered none, but for 127 we know nothing. That is because the reporting requirements are incredibly weak.

The 2019 report undoubtedly paints a really dismal picture. The numbers have gone up and the striking increase in those citing fear of being a burden is deeply disturbing.


Assisted Suicide

Where assisted suicide is legal, it makes vulnerable people feel like a burden. CARE works to uphold laws that protect those people, and to assist them to live—not to commit suicide.

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