Oregon – like a number of progressive countries in Europe – is moving to expand doctor-assisted suicide.
On October 27, 1997, Oregon voters voted to legalize doctors helping their patients kill themselves by providing a prescription for a drug that would accomplish it.
“The message that was conveyed to them was this is only for people who are close to dying already,” Kilada explained. “Now what you need is a much more general diagnosis of a disease that might substantially contribute to a patient’s death.”
Essentially, if a doctor diagnoses a terminal illness, but has the encouraging word that the patient could live another two, three, or four or more years, the patient could opt for assisted suicide – meaning the old requirement of six months to live would be tossed out.
Also, a patient suffering from unbearable pain could qualify for suicide drugs – whether they had sought better pain management or not.
Kilada also noted that even someone other than the patient could obtain the prescription.
“In other words, someone else could do it,” Kilada pointed out. “Now, this is a problem – in terms of definition – that could easily be fixed, but the bottom line, though, is this bill still could be really bad because, yes, you can be killed through the mouth, IV, [or] different method, and you don’t even have to have a six-month diagnosis anymore.”
It should be noted that if a doctor or nurse administers the poison it is not considered assisted suicide, but euthanasia.