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Oregon Death with Dignity Act access: 25 year analysis
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  • Published on:
    Claims and Facts about Oregon's Death with Dignity Act at 25 years
    • Nicholas L. Gideonse, Hospice Medical Director, Associate Professor of Family Medicine Oregon Health & Science University
    • Other Contributors:
      • Barbara Coombs Lee, President Emerita/Senior Adviser

    This article provides a simplistic perspective, relying heavily on correlation, not causation, to make unproven claims about Oregon’s medical aid-in-dying law and erroneously comparing it to euthanasia laws outside the United States.

    Claim: “...there was an increase in patients feeling a burden and describing financial concerns as reasons for choosing an assisted death.” (p. 1) “Detailed studies are needed to explain the marked change in medical funding for PAS patients in Oregon.” (p. 5)

    Facts: While the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reports insurance status, it doesn’t report whether patients used their insurance for medical aid in dying. Only 5.1% of people in Oregon who qualified for medical aid in dying since 1998 noted the financial burden among their reasons for requesting it.

    Claim: "The 2022 report states that the combinations [of medications] have resulted in longer times from ingestion to death…" (p. 3)

    Facts: The median time has risen, but it is still typically less than an hour from ingestion to death. Very few patients experience a significant delay between ingestion and death. Otherwise, there would be a higher median time.

    Claim: “Unfortunately the destruction of OHA records after 1 year makes retrospective analysis impossible.” (p. 4).

    Facts: OHA’s public explanation: “The State KC does collect the names of patients in order to cross-check death certificates. However, the law guarantees the confidential...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.