Showing posts with label Assisted Suicide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Assisted Suicide. Show all posts

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Euthanasia Bill Dead for Now

Click here to view source article.

by  - Utah Policy.Com

A Democratic-sponsored, end of life bill is, for now, dead in the Utah Legislature.
The House Rules Committee, voting along partisan lines, refused Thursday to allow HB121 to be heard by a standing committee – thus killing the bill unless at a later date Rules members change their minds....
Unless House Democrats can get enough floor votes to lift HB121 from Rules (not likely), or unless Republicans on Rules change their minds (that could happen), end of life legislation is dead in the 2019 Legislature, before the first week is even over.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

New Charges in Assisted Suicide Case Regarding 16 Year Old Girl

Click here to view entire article.

A 19-year-old Spanish Fork man charged with murder in the death of a high school student is facing additional charges.

Tyerell Przybycien was originally charged with one first-degree felony of murder and one third-degree felony of failure to report a dead body after reportedly buying rope, driving a friend to a campground in Payson Canyon and then recording her as she inhaled air cleaner, passed out and died by hanging.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

House Passes Bill Criminalizing Assisted Suicide

Rep. Michael McKell
Jessica Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune  

The Utah House passed a bill Tuesday that would criminalize helping someone commit suicide — despite some concern from lawmakers that the bill could unintentionally target physicians or family members of terminally ill patients.

Rep. Michael McKell, R-Spanish Fork, has sponsored House Bill 86, which would amend Utah’s manslaughter statute to include assisted suicide. This means a person would be guilty of a second-degree felony — which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison — if prosecutors can prove he or she provided “the physical means” for someone to commit suicide.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Lawmaker proposes 'assisted suicide' law after teen allegedly helped girl kill herself

SALT LAKE CITY (KSTU) -- A state lawmaker is proposing a bill that would create a sort of "assisted suicide" law in response to the death of a Utah County girl and a man charged with murder.

Tyerell Przybycien is facing a murder charge in the death of 16-year-old Jchandra Brown. He is accused of purchasing supplies, goading the girl into taking her own life and taking video of the death.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Teen accused of helping friend commit suicide could face trial for murder

Jchandra "Jelly" Brown
To see article and video, click here.

PROVO, Utah (KSTU) -- A judge will decide if a Spanish Fork man will face trial on a murder charge in the suicide of a 16-year-old girl.

Utah County prosecutors argue that Tyerell Przybycien's actions led Jchandra Brown to kill herself, and he should be tried for first-degree felony murder and a class B misdemeanor charge of failure to report a body. His defense lawyers argued that Brown was responsible for her own actions.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Dore Memo Opposing Assisted Suicide Bill

To view a legal/policy memorandum opposing Utah's assisted suicide bill, click here and here. Key points include:
  • "Eligible" persons may have years, even decades, to live.  
  • The bill is stacked against the patient and a recipe for elder abuse.
  • "Using" the law can be traumatic for patients and their families.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Press Release: Bill Will Allow "the Perfect Crime," Encourage People "to Throw Away Their Lives"

For print version, click here.

Salt Lake City, UT
 -- Attorney Margaret Dore, president of Choice is an Illusion, which has fought assisted suicide legalization efforts in many states, and now Utah, made the following statement in connection with a bill pending before the Utah Legislature.  (HB 264).

"The bill has an application process to obtain the lethal dose," said Dore. "The process includes a written lethal dose request form with two required witnesses.  One of the witnesses is allowed to be the patient's heir who will financially benefit from the patient's death."

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Testimony of Kenneth Stevens MD Opposing Assisted Suicide

To view testimony as a pdf, click here.

1.  I strongly urge you to Vote No on HB 264, which seeks to legalize physician assisted suicide in Utah

Photo of me and my patient Jeanette Hall, 15 years after
I talked her out of assisted suicide in Oregon
I am a cancer doctor in Oregon, where physician-assisted suicide is legal. I was also raised in Logan, graduated from USU, and received my MD from the University of Utah Medical School 50 years ago. I am Professor Emeritus and former chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Oregon Health and Science University. I regularly visit Utah. I continue to practice in my cancer medical specialty.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Don’t pass death with dignity act

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/2236819-155/letter-dont-pass-death-with-dignity

I am a lawyer in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal. Our law is based on a similar law in Oregon. Both laws are similar to HB391, which is pending in the Utah legislature. I disagree with Nancy Thompson that passing that bill will enhance individual choice (Feb. 27).

Legal assisted suicide is, instead, a recipe for elder abuse. HB391, like Washington's law, allows one of two witnesses on the lethal dose request form to be an heir who will financially benefit from the patient's death. Once the lethal dose is issued by the pharmacy, there is no oversight. Even if the patient struggled, who would know?  (For more information, click here).

Thompson compares legalizing assisted suicide to pet euthanasia in which the owner, not the pet, makes the decision to end the pet's life. More to the point, the pet does not get to choose.
I hope that you can keep assisted suicide out of Utah.

Don't make Washington's mistake.

Margaret Dore
Seattle


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Problems with H.B. 391

By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA

H.B. 391 seeks to legalize physician-assisted suicide in Utah.  I am a lawyer in Washington State where we have a similar law.  Our law is based on a law in Oregon.  

Problems include:


1.  HB 391, if enacted, will encourage people with years to live to throw away their lives.

HB 391 seeks to legalize assisted suicide for persons with a "terminal disease," which is defined as having less than six months to live.  In Oregon's law, which uses the same definition, young adults with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, are "eligible" for assisted suicide.  Such persons can have years, even decades, to live.  See https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/a-2270-3r-memo-12-02-14.pdf   "Eligible" patients can also have years to live because doctors can be wrong.  See https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/terminal-uncertainty.pdf and https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/signed-john-norton-affidavit_001.pdf

2.  HB 391, if enacted, will allow health care providers/institutions to use coverage incentives to steer patients to suicide.

In Oregon, that state's Medicaid Plan steers patients to suicide through coverage incentives.  If HB 391 is enacted, Utah health care providers/institutions will be able to do the same thing.  For more information about Oregon's situation, see the affidavit of Kenneth Stevens, MD, at this link:  https://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/dr-stevens-affidavit_001.pdf 

3.  Legalization is a recipe for elder abuse. 

HB 391, like Washington's law, has no oversight at the death.  No doctor is required to be present. Not even a witness is required.  This situation creates the opportunity for an heir, or another person who will benefit from the patient's death, to administer the lethal dose to the patient without his consent. Even if he struggled, who would know?

4.  Increased suicide

In Oregon, other suicides have increased with the legalization of physician-assisted suicide.  See http://www.choiceillusion.org/2014/03/the-high-financial-cost-of-regular.html Legalization, regardless, sends the wrong message to young people that suicide is an acceptable solution to life's problems. Utah already has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation.  See http://www.standard.net/Health/2014/05/22/Utah-suicide-rate-soars

5.  Washington's similar law.

For a short article about Washington's similar law, please go here (non-lawyers tell me they like it):  https://www.kcba.org/newsevents/barbulletin/BView.aspx?Month=05&Year=2009&AID=article5.htm

Friday, February 27, 2015

Utah man, 75, pleads guilty in death of ailing wife The Salt Lake Tribune

http://www.sltrib.com/news/2229855-155/utah-man-75-pleads-guilty-in

A 75-year-old Roy man accused of killing his ailing wife — after he purportedly studied methods of assisted suicide — has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of attempted murder.

Dennis Vance Chamberlain was charged in Ogden's 2nd District Court with first-degree felony murder in the death of his wife, 70-year-old Jean Chamberlain, on Feb. 16, 2014.

On Thursday, Chamberlain pleaded guilty to attempted murder. As part of the plea deal, attorneys stipulated to a sentence of six years to life in prison, according to Deputy Weber County Benjamin Willoughby. The murder charge was punishable by a 15-years-to-life prison term.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Judge to set bail for Roy man accused of killing his wife

http://www.kutv.com/news/features/local/stories/vid_7381.shtml

(KUTV) Bail will be set Friday for a Roy man accused of killing his wife.

Dennis Chamberlain, 74, is charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors say Chamberlain killed his wife in February.

They claim he bought an assisted suicide manual then used chemicals, bags and hoses to make her death look natural.

A judge will set bail and hear evidence in the case to decide if it should go to trial Friday.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Roy man's actions may have been a precursor to murder

http://www.kutv.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_12308.shtml

(KUTV) A Roy man who police say killed his wife sent ominous letters to her siblings talking about assisted suicide months before her death.

Dennis Chamberlain is charged with murdering his wife of 48 years and apparently made no secret that he had death on his mind. According to Chamberlain's sister in law Janis Farran he, "would often send bizarre letters about this or that, but when Jean died they began to wonder if he was laying the groundwork for her murder."

Chamberlain wrote a letter stating some research he was doing on ending a life, but no one thought he'd actually do such a thing. Family members thought it was just another bizarre letter from their odd brother in law.

Farran says the letter came seven month before her sister Jean died. In the letter Chamberlain talked about books he was reading, including Final Exit which is a handbook on assisted suicide.

Farran said she was not immediately alarmed, "You just didn't think he would do such a thing.  I just kind of thought what a strange guy who would write something like that you know, you just don't think anything like that would really happen,"

Chamberlain was infamous for his peculiar writings says Farran, many in the family simply ignored him or returned the letters to him unopened.

"I did speak to another sibling about it and whether or not we should do anything about it and we both just thought well he's probably just writing a crazy letter. He'd always write letters to people with crazy stories and all that," explained Ferran.

Jean who'd suffered a stroke years ago died in February and her husband didn't contact police or doctors. He simply announced to family members that their sister was dead. Earlier this year police exhumed her body in part because of the letter and a search of Chamberlains internet history showed he had searched for information on gases and medicine that could not be detected in an autopsy.

Ferran is understandably upset by the news saying, "I'm just heartbroken that I didn't do more about it, oh my God, I never thought this would happen." 

While there are second thoughts, there is also relief that Jean's alleged killer is behind bars. Ferran added, "I'm just so happy that this guy is not going to get away with it, I thought he was going to get away with it."

Although she had a stroke, Farran says her sister was not that sick. She says Dennis made her seem more ill than she ways and it set the stage for her death.

(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)

Follow us on Twitter @KUTV2News and LIKE us on Facebook for updates.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Quick Facts About Assisted Suicide

By Margaret Dore, Esq.*
 
1.  Assisted Suicide

Assisted suicide means that someone provides the means and/or information for another person to commit suicide.  When a physician is involved, the practice is physician-assisted suicide.[1]

2. The Oregon and Washington Laws

In Oregon, physician-assisted suicide was legalized in 1997 via a ballot measure.[2]  In Washington State, a similar law was passed via another ballot measure in 2008 and went into effect in 2009.[3]  

3.  Throwing Away Your Life

The Oregon and Washington laws apply to state residents predicted to have less than six months to live.[5]  Such persons are not necessarily dying.  Doctors can be wrong.[6]  Moreover, treatment can lead to recovery.  Consider Jeanette Hall, who was diagnosed with cancer and given six months to a year to live.[7]  She was adamant that she would "do" Oregon’s law, but her doctor, Ken Stevens, convinced her to be treated instead.[8] She is still alive today, 13 years later.[9]

With legal assisted suicide, people with many quality years to live are encouraged to throw away their lives.

4.  A Recipe for Elder Abuse

The Washington and Oregon laws are a recipe for elder abuse. The most obvious reason is due to a lack of oversight when the lethal dose is administered.[10] For example, there are no witnesses required at the death; the death is allowed occur in private.[11] With this situation, the opportunity is created for an heir, or some other person who will benefit from the patient’s death, to administer the lethal dose to the patient without her consent.  Even if she struggled, who would know?

For more detail about Washington's law, which is similar to Oregon's law, read a short article by clicking here.  

5. Empowering the Healthcare System

In Oregon, patients desiring treatment under the Oregon Health Plan have been offered assisted suicide instead. 

The most well known cases involve Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup.[12] Each wanted treatment.[13] The Plan denied their requests and offered to pay for their suicides instead.[14] Neither Wagner nor Stroup saw this scenario as a celebration of their "choice." Wagner said: "I'm not ready to die."[15] Stroup said: "This is my life they’re playing with."[16]

Wagner and Stroup were steered to suicide. Moreover, it was the Oregon Health Plan, a government entity, doing the steering.[17]  For more detail about the current situation, read the affidavit of Kenneth Stevens, by clicking here.

6.  Increased Suicide in Oregon

Oregon's suicide rate, which excludes suicides under its physician-assisted suicide law, has been "increasing significantly" since 2000.[18] 

Just three years prior, Oregon legalized physician-assisted suicide. This increased suicide rate is consistent with a suicide contagion in which removing the stigma from one type of suicide encouraged other suicides.  

7.  Proposed Expansion in Washington State

Washington State legalized physician-assisted suicide in March 2009.  Just three years later, there were already discussions to expand that law to direct euthanasia of non-terminal people.  See, for example, Brian Faller, "Perhaps it's time to expand Washington's Death with Dignity Act, The Olympian, November 16, 2011.  More disturbing for me,on March 8, 2012, there was a Seattle Times column suggesting euthanasia as a solution for people unable to support themselves, which would be involuntary euthanasia.  See Jerry Large, "Planning for old age at a premium," The Seattle Times, March 8, 2012 at  http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/text/2017693023.html   ("After Monday's column,  . . . a few [readers] suggested that if you couldn't save enough money to see you through your old age, you shouldn't expect society to bail you out. At least a couple mentioned euthanasia as a solution.") (Emphasis added).  I never heard anyone talk like this before our law was passed.

Don't make our mistake.
____

Margaret Dore is an attorney in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal.  She is also President of Choice is an Illusion, a nonprofit corporation opposed to assisted suicide.  For more information, see www.margaretdore.com andwww.choiceillusion.org 

[1]  Compare: American Medical Association, Code of Medical Ethics, Opinion 2.211, available at http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/medical-ethics/code-medical-ethics/opinion2211.page
[2]  The Oregon and Washington laws are similar.  For a short article about Washington’s law, see Margaret K. Dore, "'Death with Dignity': What Do We Advise Our Clients?," King County Bar Association, Bar Bulletin, May 2009, available athttps://www.kcba.org/newsevents/barbulletin/BView.aspx?Month=05&Year=2009&AID=article5.htm
[3]  Id.
[5]  See ORS 127.800 s.1.01(12) and RCW 70.245.010(13).
[6]  See e.g., Nina Shapiro, "Terminal Uncertainty: Washington’s new "Death With Dignity" law allows doctors to help people commit suicide—once they’ve determined that the patient has only six months to live. But what if they’re wrong?," 01/14/09, available athttp://www.seattleweekly.com/2009-01-14/news/terminal-uncertainty 
[7]  See Jeanette Hall, Letter to the editor, "She pushed for legal right to die, and - thankfully - was rebuffed, Boston Globe, October 4, 2011 ("I am so happy to be alive!), available athttp://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/letters/articles/2011/10/04/she_pushed_for_legal_right_to_die_and___thankfully___was_rebuffed/ Kenneth Stevens MD, Letter to the Editor, "Oregon mistake costs lives," The Advocate, the official publication of the Idaho State Bar, Sept. 2010, (scroll down to last letter atwww.margaretdore.com/info/Stevens.pdf ).
[8]  Id.
[9]  Per her telephone call today.
[10]  The Oregon and Washington Acts can be viewed in their entirety here and here.
[11]  Id.
[12]  See Susan Donaldson James, "Death Drugs Cause Uproar in Oregon," ABC News, August 6, 2008, athttp://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=5517492&page=1; "Letter noting assisted suicide raises questions," KATU TV, July 30, 2008, athttp://www.katu.com/news/specialreports/26119539.html ; and Ken Stevens, MD, Letter to Editor, "Oregon mistake costs lives," The Advocate, the official publication of the Idaho State Bar, September 2011, to view, scroll down to bottom of second page here:http://www.margaretdore.com/info/September_Letters.pdf
[13] Id.
[14] Id.
[15] KATU TV at note 12
[16] ABC News at note 12
[17]  See also Affidavit of Ken Stevens MD (Leblanc v. Canada), with attachments, available athttp://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/signed-stevens-aff-9-18-12.pdf  
[18]  See "Suicides in Oregon: Trends and Risk Factors," Oregon Department of Human Services, Public Health Division, September 2010, page 6, ("Deaths relating to the death with Dignity Act (physician-assisted suicides) are not classified as suicides by Oregon law and therefore excluded from this report"), available athttp://epcdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/or_suicide_report_001.pdf
See also Oregon Health Authority, News Release, "Rising suicide rate in Oregon reaches higher than national average," September 9, 2010, ("suicide rates have been increasing significantly since 2000") available athttp://www.oregon.gov/DHS/news/2010news/2010-0909a.pdf
[19]  Available at  http://www.theolympian.com/2011/11/16/1878667/perhaps-its-time-to-expand-washingtons.html

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ken Stevens MD: "legalizing assisted suicide can result in decreased patient choice"

Assisted Suicide
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/53280042-82/suicide-patients-assisted-oregon.html.csp

Updated Jan 19, 2012 01:01AM

Patty Henetz' "Do Utahns have the right to choose how they die?" (Tribune, Jan. 8) refers to the legalization of assisted suicide in Oregon. Utahns should understand that legalizing assisted suicide can result in decreased patient choice.

I have been a cancer doctor in Oregon for more than 40 years. The combination of assisted-suicide legalization and prioritized medical care based on prognosis has created a danger for my patients on the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid).

The plan limits medical care and treatment for patients with a 5 percent or less likelihood of surviving five years. Patients in that category who have a good chance of living another three years and who want to live cannot receive surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy. However, the plan will cover the patient's suicide.

Oregon law says only patients with no more than six months to live are eligible for voluntary suicide, but the plan nonetheless offers suicide to patients in this category.

The mere presence of legal assisted suicide steers patients toward suicide. One patient was adamant to use the law. I convinced her to be treated. Eleven years later she is thrilled to be alive.

Kenneth Stevens, M.D.

Sherwood, Ore.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

What People Mean When They Say They Want to Die

(originally published as a Statement for the BBC)

For a print version, click here

by William Toffler, MD
______________________________________________

There has been a profound shift in attitude in my state since the voters of Oregon narrowly embraced assisted suicide 11 years ago.  A shift that, I believe, has been detrimental to our patients, degraded the quality of medical care, and compromised the integrity of my profession. 

Since assisted suicide has become an option, I have had at least a dozen patients discuss this option with me in my practice.  Most of the patients who have broached this issue weren't even terminal. 

One of my first encounters with this kind of request came from a patient with a progressive form of multiple sclerosis.  He was in a wheelchair yet lived a very active life. In fact, he was a general contractor and quite productive.  While I was seeing him, I asked him about how it affected his life.  He acknowledged that multiple sclerosis was a major challenge and told me that if he got too much worse, he might want to “just end it.” “ It sounds like you are telling me this because you might ultimately want assistance with your own assisted suicide- if things got a worse,” I said.  He nodded affirmatively, and seemed relieved that I seemed to really understand.

I told him that I could readily understand his fear and his frustration and even his belief that assisted suicide might be a good option for him. At the same time, I told him that should he become sicker or weaker, I would work to give him the best care and support available. I told him that no matter how debilitated he might become, that, at least to me, his life was, and would always be, inherently valuable. As such, I would not recommend, nor could I participate in his assisted-suicide.  He simply said, "Thank you."

The truth is that we are not islands.  How physicians respond to the patient’s request has a profound effect, not only on a patient's choices, but also on their view of themselves and their inherent worth.

When a patient says, "I want to die"; it may simply mean, "I feel useless."

When a patient says, "I don't want to be a burden"; it may really be a question, "Am I a burden?"

When a patient says, "I've lived a long life already"; they may really be saying, "I'm tired.  I'm afraid I can't keep going."

And, finally, when a patient says, "I might as well be dead"; they may really be saying, "No one cares about me."

Many studies show that assisted suicide requests are almost always for psychological or social reasons.  In Oregon there has never been any documented case of assisted suicide used because there was actual untreatable pain.[6]  As such, assisted suicide has been totally unnecessary in Oregon. 

Sadly, the legislation passed in Oregon does not require that the patient have unbearable suffering, or any suffering for that matter.  The actual Oregon experience has been a far cry from the televised images and advertisements that seduced the public to embrace assisted suicide.  In statewide television ads in 1994, a woman named Patty Rosen claimed to have killed her daughter with an overdose of barbiturates because of intractable cancer pain.  This claim was later challenged and shown to be false.  Yet, even if it had been true, it would be an indication of inadequate medical care- not an indication for assisted suicide.

Astonishingly, there is not even inquiry about the potential gain to family members of the so-called "suicide" of a "loved one." This could be in the form of an inheritance, a life insurance policy, or, perhaps even simple freedom from previous care responsibilities.

Most problematic for me has been the change in attitude within the healthcare system itself. People with serious illnesses are sometimes fearful of the motives of doctors or consultants.  Last year, a patient with bladder cancer contacted me.  She was concerned that an oncologist might be one of the "death doctors."  She questioned his motives—particularly when she obtained a second opinion from another oncologist which was more sanguine about her prognosis and treatment options.  Whether one or the other consultant is correct or not, such fears were never an issue before assisted suicide was legalized. 

In Oregon, I regularly receive notices that many important services and drugs for my patients-even some pain medications-won't be paid for by the State health plan.  At the same time, assisted suicide is fully covered and sanctioned by the State of Oregon and by our collective tax dollars.

I urge UK leaders to reject the seductive siren of assisted suicide.  Oregon has tasted the bitter pill of barbiturate overdoses and many now know that our legislation is hopelessly flawed.  I believe Great Britain, the birthplace of Dame Cicely Saunders, and the Hospice movement, and a model to the rest of the world, deserves better.

On May 12, 2006

Don't Follow Oregon's Lead: Say No to Assisted Suicide

 http://www.margaretdore.com/info/Bentz_Letter.pdf

I am an internal medicine doctor, practicing in Oregon where assisted suicide is legal.  I write in support of Margaret Dore's article, "Aid in Dying: Not Legal in Idaho; Not About Choice."  I would also like to share a story about one of my patients.

I was caring for a 76 year-old man who came in with a sore on his arm. The sore was ultimately diagnosed as a malignant melanoma, and I referred him to two cancer specialists for evaluation and therapy. I had known this patient and his wife for over a decade. He was an avid hiker, a popular hobby here in Oregon. As he went through his therapy, he became less able to do this activity, becoming depressed, which was documented in his chart.

During this time, my patient expressed a wish for doctor-assisted suicide to one of the cancer specialists. Rather than taking the time and effort to address the question of depression, or ask me to talk with him as his primary care physician and as someone who knew him, the specialist called me and asked me to be the "second opinion" for his suicide. She told me that barbiturate overdoses "work very well" for patients like this, and that she had done this many times before.


I told her that assisted-suicide was not appropriate for this patient and that I did NOT concur. I was very concerned about my patient's mental state, and I told her that addressing his underlying issues would be better than simply giving him a lethal prescription. Unfortunately, my concerns were ignored, and approximately two weeks later my patient was dead from an overdose prescribed by this doctor. His death certificate, filled out by this doctor, listed the cause of death as melanoma.

The public record is not accurate. My patient did not die from his cancer, but at the hands of a once-trusted colleague. This experience has affected me, my practice, and my understanding of what it means to be a physician. What happened to this patient, who was weak and vulnerable, raises several important questions that I have had to answer, and that the citizens of Idaho should also consider:

        * If assisted suicide is made legal in Idaho, will you be able to trust your doctors, insurers and HMOs to give you and your family members the best care? I referred my patient to specialty care, to a doctor I trusted, and the outcome turned out to be fatal.
        
        * How will financial issues affect your choices? In Oregon, patients under the Oregon Health Plan have been denied coverage for treatment and offered coverage for suicide instead. See e.g. KATU TV story and video at
http://www.katu.com/home/video/26119539.html  (about Barbara Wagner). Do you want this to be your choice?

        * If your doctor and/or HMO favors assisted suicide, will they let you know about all possible options or will they simply encourage you to kill yourself?  The latter option will often involve often less actual work for the doctor and save the HMO money.

In most states, suicidal ideation is interpreted as a cry for help. In Oregon, the only help my patient received was a lethal prescription, intended to kill him.

Is this where you want to go? Please learn the real lesson from Oregon. Despite all of the so-called safeguards in our assisted suicide law, numerous instances of coercion, inappropriate selection, botched attempts, and active euthanasia have been documented in the public record.

Protect yourselves and your families. Don't let legalized assisted suicide come to Idaho.

Charles J. Bentz MD, FACP
Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine and Geriatrics Oregon Health & Sciences University
Portland Oregon

Oregon Doctor Finds Fault with State's Law

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/letters/articles/2011/10/04/oregon_doctor_finds_fault_with_states_law/ 
  +
I am a doctor practicing medicine in Oregon and Washington, where physician-assisted suicide is legal. I disagree with Scot Lehigh that these suicides are not like other suicides in which “a healthy person [takes] his life for reasons of despair, depression, or hopelessness’’ (“Death with dignity in Mass.,’’ Op-ed, Sept. 23).

First, doctors can be wrong. So, what looks like a few months to live can be years. For a good article on this subject, see Nina Shapiro’s January 2009 "Terminal Uncertainty" in the Seattle Weekly.

Second, despair, depression, and hopelessness are a part of assisted suicide. A few years ago, a patient of mine who was undergoing cancer treatment with a specialist became depressed, and expressed a wish for assisted suicide.

In most jurisdictions, suicidal ideation is interpreted as a cry for help. In Oregon, the only help my patient got was a lethal prescription intended to kill him.  Don’t make our mistake. Keep assisted suicide out of Massachusetts.

Dr. Charles J. Bentz
Portland, Ore.
The writer is an associate professor of medicine in the division of general medicine and geriatrics at Oregon Health & Science University.

"If my doctor had believed in assisted suicide, I would be dead"

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/letters/articles/2011/10/04/she_pushed_for_legal_right_to_die_and___thankfully___was_rebuffed/

I DISAGREE with Scot Lehigh’s Sept. 23 column, which characterizes assisted suicide as only involving people who are going to die in “a few months or weeks’’ (“Death with dignity in Mass.,’’ Op-ed). I am a retired person living in Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal. Our law was enacted through a ballot initiative that I voted for. In 2000, I was diagnosed with cancer and told that I had six months to a year to live.
 
I knew that our law had passed, but I didn’t know exactly how to go about making use of it. I tried to ask my doctor, but he didn’t really answer me. I didn’t want to suffer. I wanted to do what our law allowed, and I wanted my doctor to help me. Instead, he encouraged me not to give up, and ultimately I decided to fight the disease. I had both chemotherapy and radiation.
 
I am so happy to be alive! It is now 11 years later.
 
If my doctor had believed in assisted suicide, I would be dead. I thank him and all my doctors for helping me to choose “life with dignity.’’
 
Assisted suicide should not be legal. I hope Massachusetts does not make this terrible mistake.
 
Jeanette Hall
King City, Ore.

"I was afraid to leave my husband alone"

Letter from Oregon resident, Kathryn Judson, Published in the Hawaii Free Press, February 15, 2011.  To view the original letter, click here and scroll down towards the bottom of the page.   

Dear Editor,

Hello from Oregon.

When my husband was seriously ill several years ago, I collapsed in a half-exhausted heap in a chair once I got him into the doctor's office, relieved that we were going to get badly needed help (or so I thought).

To my surprise and horror, during the exam I overheard the doctor giving my husband a sales pitch for assisted suicide. 'Think of what it will spare your wife, we need to think of her' he said, as a clincher.

Now, if the doctor had wanted to say 'I don't see any way I can help you, knowing what I know, and having the skills I have' that would have been one thing. If he'd wanted to opine that certain treatments weren't worth it as far as he could see, that would be one thing. But he was tempting my husband to commit suicide. And that is something different.

I was indignant that the doctor was not only trying to decide what was best for David, but also what was supposedly best for me (without even consulting me, no less).

We got a different doctor, and David lived another five years or so. But after that nightmare in the first doctor's office, and encounters with a 'death with dignity' inclined nurse, I was afraid to leave my husband alone again with doctors and nurses, for fear they'd morph from care providers to enemies, with no one around to stop them.

It's not a good thing, wondering who you can trust in a hospital or clinic. I hope you are spared this in Hawaii.

Sincerely,

Kathryn Judson, Oregon