February 23, 2024

Oregon assisted suicide deaths continue to creep ahead

They now account for 0.61% of all deaths in the state

Mt Hood and Trillium Lake in Oregon 

Here are the latest figures on assisting dying in the US state of Oregon. The 2020 data shows, among other concerns, that:

  • The numbers continue to rise steadily — 15% per year average; they are 0.61% of all deaths in Oregon (2% of all cancer deaths), up 20% from 2019
  • From 1 Jan 2020 the 15-day waiting period between first request and death could be waived, if a doctor (who may never have met the person and may have no expertise in the condition) says the person is reasonably expected to die within 15 days. This happened with 75 people in 2020 (30% of AS deaths). Some of these people took the poison the very same day they first asked a doctor about it.
  • The reported complication rate was nearly 7%, including one case of seizures.
  • Despite continued experiments with lethal drug combinations in 2020, three people took six hours or more to die. One of them took 8 hours.
  • In 2020 a physician or other healthcare provider was known to be present at the time the person died from ingesting the lethal substance in just over one third of cases (34.29%). This means that in 67% of cases there was no physician or other healthcare provider known to be present at the time of death, and there is no data available on complications for these cases.
  • In 2020 in 42 cases (out of 245) there was a “volunteer” present at the time of ingestion and at the time of death. These are apparently “Client Volunteers” provided by a non-government organisation End of Life Choices Oregon. According to their job description on its website they “may be present at a planned death [and] prepare medication for self-administration by the client [which] includes opening drug capsules and/or mixing medication with fluid.”
  • This still leaves 115 out of 245 cases (47%) cases where there is no evidence that the person took the lethal substance voluntarily. It may well have been administered to them by a family member or other person under duress, surreptitiously or violently. We can never know.

A full report can be found at the Australian Care Alliance website.  

Creative commons