PRESS RELEASE - March
OREGON'S ASSISTED SUICIDE LAW:
THE "MEDICAL KILLING" OF VULNERABLE PATIENTS CONTINUES.
Twelve years ago, Oregon voters legalized the practice of
doctor-assisted suicide. Assisted suicide does nothing to
improve health care at end of life. What the law actually
does is protect doctors from peer review and from prosecution
for medical killing. The Oregon Assisted Suicide law also
limits patients' and families' ability to have the proper
recourse in the case of malpractice.
Physicians for Compassionate Care Education Foundation (PCCEF)
continues to express, on behalf of all its members, profound
grief for those vulnerable individuals frightened into committing
assisted suicide. We note the degradation of patient trust
and the negative impact on the patient-physician relationships
and role of the medical profession in our state.
As in the past, this year's report released today by the
Oregon Department of Human Services contains several areas
- Only 2 patients of the 38 Oregonians who were "assisted" in
2005 had a referral for psychiatric evaluation.
Suicidal ideation is a symptom of depression, and
this raises concern that depressed patients are
being medically killed in Oregon.
- One patient in 2005 made the first request for
assisted suicide 1009 days (almost 3 years) prior
to death, that patient was obviously not terminal
when the request was made.
- Thirty-four patients used pentobarbital, which
is only available in a liquid form designed for
intravenous or intramuscular use; it is not designed
for oral use, which raises concern about how this
drug is being used in Oregon.
PCCEF continues to affirm the ethic that human life
has inherent value and that doctor-assisted suicide
does the following:
- Undermines trust in the patient-physician relationship
- Alters the role of the physician in society,
from the traditional one of healer to executioner.
- Endangers the value that society places on life,
specifically for those who are most vulnerable
Physicians for Compassionate Care and its members
will continue to assist individual patients and
their families to access excellent palliative care
at the end of life.
For further information contact Charles J. Bentz
MD, FACP, President: Physicians for Compassionate
Care Education Foundation at (503) 216-7496 or email
him at firstname.lastname@example.org