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Annual report on how assisted dying works in the USA (10 Mar)

Friday 10 March 2006

Annual report on how assisted dying works in the USA

38 people opted to have assistance to die under Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act in 2005, a new report from its Department of Human Services shows today.

The 38 cases represent one assisted death for every 830 deaths. 246 people have asked for and received assistance to die in the eight years since Oregon became passed a law formally regulating assisted dying in 1997.

Those who requested help to die were younger than the median age of those who died (70 against 78) and were likely to have had more education. Four out of five had cancer, and 92 per cent were enrolled in hospice care.

The three most common reasons given by patients for wanting an assisted death are: Loss of dignity (89%), being less able to engage in activities that make life enjoyable (89%) and losing autonomy (79%). Less than one quarter were concerned about their pain control.

The UK Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill, which Dignity in Dying has helped to draft, is substantially based upon Oregon’s law.

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying, said:

“Anybody who is interested in the evidence about how assisted dying works, rather than the arguments they hear from lobby groups, should study the Oregon government’s concise and readable report.”

To download the report on Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act click here.


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