Thursday, March 4, 2010

Washington State Reports on First Year of Death with Dignity.

From Seattle Times:

Sixty-three suicide prescriptions were dispensed during the first nine months of Washington state's "death with dignity" act and at least 36 people used that lethal dose of medicine to end their lives, state officials said Thursday.

The prescriptions for lethal doses of medication were written by 53 different doctors and dispensed by 29 different pharmacists, the Department of Health said in its first annual report on the law that took effect in March 2009.

The statistics show that use of the program has been similar to the first year of Oregon's assisted suicide law, said Health Department spokesman Donn Moyer. Oregon adopted the nation's first "death with dignity" law in 1997.

Montana became the third state to allow assisted suicide at the end of 2009 after the Montana Supreme Court ruled that nothing in state law prevents patients from seeking physician-assisted suicide.

Washington state has received zero complaints from the public about doctors and pharmacists and their compliance with the law, the agency said.

"We're very satisfied with the compliance by the health care provider community," Moyer said.

Of the 63 people who received lethal doses of prescription medicine between March and December 2009, 47 are known to have died. Thirty-six of them died after taking the medications and seven most likely died from their ailment.

The agency said it doesn't know the details of the other four because the death certificate or death report hasn't been filed.

Those who died were between the ages of 48 and 95. Nearly all of them lived west of the Cascades. Most had terminal cancer and all were expected to die within six months.

Under the Washington law, any patient requesting fatal medication must be at least 18 years old, be declared mentally competent, and a resident of the state and have a terminal condition and six months or less to live.

From conservative LifeNews.

From The Guardian.

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