The term "euthanasia," or mercy killing, refers to the intentional taking of another's life (with their consent) in order to ease the suffering of a terminally ill individual. Euthanasia is technically illegal in all states, although a few states allow physician-assisted suicide in a manner that gives the patient complete control over his or her demise. This remains a very controversial medical and social policy issue, involving several different aspects of medicine, religion, ethics, and law.
Euthanasia Law and the Oregon Death with Dignity Act
Oregon is one of just a few states where terminally ill patients may legally end their own lives if they choose. The Oregon Death with Dignity Act allows terminally ill patients to receive a prescription for lethal medications, which they administer themselves after completing the consent process. To be eligible, patients must be given six months or less to live, be at least 18 years old, and submit three separate doctor requests (two oral, one written).
The Oregon Health Authority provides the necessary forms on its Website, including the Patient Request Form (PDF) and Consulting Physician Form (PDF). See the following chart for more details of Oregon's physician-assisted suicide statute.
|Code Section||127.800, et. seq. (The Oregon Death with Dignity Act)|
|Euthanasia Condoned in Statutes?||Physician-assisted suicide is allowed in limited circumstances: Patient must have been diagnosed with a terminal illness in which he/she is expected to die within 6 months; physician may prescribe a lethal dose of drugs to eligible patients who have provided the necessary consent.
|Safeguards and Consent||
After confirming presence of a terminal illness, the patient requesting lethal drugs to end their life must be informed of alternatives (including hospice and counseling); referred to another physician to confirm the diagnosis and to confirm the patient's decision to end their life; and be informed of their right to rescind the request for lethal drugs.
|Effect of Withholding of Life-Sustaining Procedures||Withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures or artificially administered nutrition and hydration does not constitute suicide, assisted suicide, homicide, or mercy killing.|
Note: State laws are always subject to change, usually through new legislation or higher court decisions. You may want to contact an Oregon health care attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Research the Law
Oregon Physician-Assistend Suicide (or Euthanasia) Laws: Related Resources
Contact a qualified attorney.