The 2018 Oregon annual assisted suicide report is similar to prior years. The report implies that the deaths were voluntary (self-administered), but the information in the report does not address that subject.
According to the 2018 Oregon assisted suicide report:
- There were 168 reported assisted suicide deaths up from 158 in 2017. When published, the 2017 report claimed that 143 people died by assisted suicide, 15 fewer than the actual number of deaths.
- 168 of 169 people who reportedly ingested lethal drugs in 2018 died from it; one person survived and died of natural causes.
- For 11 of the deaths, the lethal drugs were prescribed in previous years.
- 3 of the patients were referred for a psychological or psychiatric evaluation.
- 2 physicians were referred to the Oregon Medical Board for failure to comply with the law.
- The time of death ranged from 9 minutes to 14 hours. When dying from DCMP2, death took on average 2 hours, with the longest time taking 21 hours.
- In 2018 one person died 807 days (more than 2 years and 2 months) after requesting assisted death.
- 43 people received lethal prescriptions, but their “ingestion” status is unknown.
- There were 249 lethal prescriptions obtained, up from 218 in 2017.
- There may be more assisted suicide deaths.
According to the 2018 Oregon report, the ingestion status was unknown in 43 deaths. Last year the report stated that 143 people died by assisted suicide but then was revised to state that 158 people died by assisted suicide. When the ingestion status is unknown, it is possible that the person died by assisted suicide. Some or all of these deaths may represent unreported assisted deaths.
Recently the Oregon suicide lobby stated that they intend to expand the definitions in the assisted suicide law. Oregon House Bill HB 2232 proposes to change the definition of terminal from a six-month prognosis to: a disease that will, within reasonable medical judgment, produce or substantially contribute to a patient’s death.
Many people who are not “terminally” ill have a disease that will, within reasonable medical judgement, produce or substantially contribute to death. When considering the OHA inclusion of refusing medical treatment, this new definition enables wide-open assisted suicide.