In Oregon, fewer than 6% of individuals who have died by assisted suicide were ever referred for psychiatric consultation to rule out the most common causes of suicidal thinking. This lack of basic psychological evaluation and treatment constitutes medical negligence.
The first woman to die by assisted suicide in Oregon was initially refused a prescription for aid-in-dying drugs by her physician and a second consulting doctor because she suffered from untreated clinical depression. Compassion in Choices, an organization that actively encourages assisted suicide, referred her to a doctor who prescribed the lethal drug.
In Oregon, a small number of physicians, fewer than 200 out of over 10,000 physicians statewide, write a disproportionately large number of the prescriptions, creating a marginalized cottage industry.
The number of deaths from assisted suicide in Oregon was 37% percent higher in October than the 2014 average. After Brittany Maynard’s death on November 1, 2014, deaths from assisted suicide spiked in November, rising 71.4% above the 2014 average.
The overall suicide rate in Oregon has risen dramatically following the legalization of assisted suicide there. As of 2010, suicide rates were 35% higher in Oregon than the national average.
Proponents of assisted suicide claim that “physician aid in dying” is not really suicide because taking a deadly drug is allegedly peaceful. Data from Oregon reveals numerous cases where patients have experienced severe physical and emotional symptoms from the drugs, including feelings of terror, confusion, and vomiting. In some cases, patients fall into a coma for several weeks before they die.