February 18 , 2000
Oregon Assisted Suicide Report Anticipated by PCC
Dear PCC member:
The following information relates to new report scheduled to be
released by the Oregon Health Division next week. You should consider
this background when you read this year's sequel to the first report.
Please feel free to share this information with anyone who may find
it of interest.
William L. Toffler MD
National Director, Physicians for Compassionate Care
OREGON ASSISTED SUICIDE REPORT ANTICIPATED BY PCC
The Oregon Health Division will release its report of the second
year's experiment with assisted suicide, as early as Wednesday, February
23, 2000, preceding its publication in the New England Journal of
Last year's "Oregon Report" proved an embarrassment to the Oregon
Health Division. It drew national criticism as exemplified by authors,
Drs. Kathleen Foley and Herbert Hendin, in "The Oregon Report:
Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Hastings Center Report, May-June, 1999. "
The report is marked by its failure to address the limits of the
information it has available, overreaching its data to draw unwarranted
"... those administering the law and those sanctioned by the government
to analyze its operation have become its advocates"(p.42).
"Especially glaring is the lack of data on the palliative care offered
to patients who requested assisted suicide, on their financial situation,
and on their emotional state" (p. 37).
Dr. Foley, a professor at the famed Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute,
is project director of Project on Death in America and Dr. Hendin
is Professor at New York Medical College.
In preparation for this year's "Oregon Report," which promises to
differ little from last year's report that only interviewed those
wishing to defend the law, useful references include:
Foley, K. and Hendin, H. (1999). "The Oregon Report: Don't Ask,
Don't Tell," Hastings Center Report, May-June, 1999 (www.thehastingscenter.org/media.htm).
Hamilton, N.G. (1999). "Pain Relief Promotion Act Testimony of Physicians
for Compassionate Care." U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on the
Constitution, June 24, 1999 (www.house.gov/judiciary/ham0624.htm
-- see sections on "Failure of Reporting" and "Economic Pressure
to Commit Suicide").
Hamilton, N.G. and Hamilton, C.A. (1999). "Therapeutic Response
to Assisted Suicide Request." Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic
63:191-201 (www.menninger.edu/tmc_info_bltn.html -- see Abstracts,
For further information call: PCC (503) 533-8154.
Released February 16 , 2000.