By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
According to The Washington State Department of Health 2015 Death with Dignity Act Report, there was a 32% increase in the number of reported assisted deaths–from 126 in 2014 to 166 in 2015.
There were also a 21% increase in lethal prescriptions written-up to 213.
Out of the 213 lethal prescriptions in 2015 there were 166 reported assisted suicide deaths, 24 deaths from other causes, 12 deaths where the “ingestion status” was unknown, and 11 people remained alive.
Dangerously, when the ingestion status is unknown, then the status of the lethal drugs is also unknown.
A greater number of illnesses are leading to assisted suicide, according to the report. The assisted suicide report states that deaths from other illnesses increased to 10 from 6 in 2014. However the report did not list what the other illnesses were, but in Oregon other illnesses includes diabetes.
The annual report states that the death status is unknown for one person in 2009; one person in 2010; one person in 2011; four people in 2013; 4 people in 2014, and, as noted above, 12 people in 2015.
Legalizing assisted suicide creates new pressures upon people who are terminally or chronically ill and is a recipe for elder abuse.
Editor’s note. This appeared on the blog of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.