D.C.’s assisted suicide law leaves much to the imagination

It’s no surprise that the the District’s assisted suicide program isn’t popular. When it was legalized two years ago, health officials estimated as many as 10 people annually would elect to die this way. The reality? Two of four individuals who registered to die via assisted suicide went through with it, and only minimal information was made available on any of the four people involved.

A single-page report released last month by the D.C. Health Department states, “In 2018 there were four prescriptions written for a covered medication, two qualified patients died.” Few other details are offered about the two female cancer patients who ingested lethal medications or about the two patients who died without taking the drugs.

We know that the four patients who sought this all had cancer and received prescriptions from three doctors, and two never took them. What don’t we know? We don’t know if they received palliative care or had psychological evaluation or counseling. We don’t know what sort of medications they were given, how effective they were, whether they caused pain or how quickly they took effect. We can’t know how freely they acted in taking the pills themselves, or who was there with them. Some of these issues are recorded as standard practice in assisted suicide reporting in other states. The D.C. Health Department, however, leaves much to the imagination, shrouding an unpopular program in secrecy…


Read more at the Washington Post…

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