Objectives Assisted dying has been legally available in Oregon in the USA for 25 years, since when official reports have been published each year detailing the number of people who have used this option as well as sociodemographic and information about the process. The aim of this study was to examine changes over time in these data.
Methods We collated and reviewed data on 2454 assisted deaths included in annual reports on assisted deaths published by the Oregon Health Authority from 1998 to 2022. Descriptive statistics were used to describe time trends.
Results The number of assisted deaths in Oregon increased from 16 in 1998 to 278 in 2022. Over this time, patients’ health funding status changed from predominantly private (65%) to predominantly government support (79.5%), and there was an increase in patients feeling a burden and describing financial concerns as reasons for choosing an assisted death. There has been a reduction in the length of the physician–patient relationship from 18 weeks in 2010 to 5 weeks in 2022, and the proportion referred for psychiatric assessment remains low (1%). Data are frequently missing, particularly around complications.
Conclusions The number and characteristics of people accessing assisted deaths, and the process, have changed since data collection started in 1998. Prospective studies are needed to examine the relationship between socioeconomic factors and the desire for an assisted death in Oregon.
- Clinical decisions
- End of life care
- Terminal care
Data availability statement
All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. All data are available from publicly available reports (see ref. 1).
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Contributors All three authors have contributed to the original research and subsequent revisions. AW did the initial collation of data from 1998-2021 and subsequent data analysis, and has contributed since to each draft. CR continued the data analysis, taking responsibility for the text, figures and references, including adding data from the latest OHA report published in early March 2023. IF has reviewed and contributed to each draft throughout the process. CR is the guarantor for this work.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.