Physician-assisted suicide is legal in three of the fifty states in America: Oregon, Montana, and Washington. Getting approval for physician-assisted suicide in Oregon is a long process with many guidelines and restrictions. The patient must be terminally ill, with little hope for treatment and less than six months to live. It is required that they are a resident of Oregon, and at least 18 years of age. They must also be able to communicate their own wishes. Once the initial decision is made by the patient, he or she must make two oral requests for a prescription of lethal drugs to their attending physician, or the doctor that has initial care of that patient. These two requests should be made no less than 15 days apart, and a the patient must sign a written request in the presence of at least two witnesses. Once the forms are signed, the attending physician, as well as another consulting physician, will review the patient’s case and verify the diagnosis and prognosis. If either of the two physicians believes the patient is being influenced by a psychological or psychiatric disease, they must refer the patient for a psychological examination. If the patient is declared mentally fit to make this decision, the attending physician has an obligation to offer alternatives to the Death with Dignity Act, including hospice care, comfort, and pain management. Should the patient decide to proceed with physician-assisted suicide, the attending physician is required to recommend that the patient notify their next-of-kin of their request for lethal drugs, although it is not required (Oregon 1).
If one is to even begin to understand the dilemma stirred up by the proposition of legalizing physician-assisted suicide, they must first understand ...
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...a common answer for all terminal patients. However, even in Oregon, where physician-assisted suicide was legalized over a decade ago, the procedure accounts for only about 1 in 1,000 deaths in the state.
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