In Oregon, medically assisted dying applies to diabetic patients

Publié le 29 Jan, 2018

In Oregon, the law authorises “medically assisted dying” for “terminally ill” patients with less than six months to live. Two doctors must agree on this prognosis and ensure that the patient voluntarily gives his/her informed consent. According to some health professionals, the law also allows patients with curable conditions to refuse care in order to obtain a terminal diagnosis and a lethal prescription. This is how Doctor Toffler, National Director of Physicians for Compassionate Care, interprets the situation: “If you are diabetic, despondent and depressed, and you stop taking your insulin, you will die” – a situation that is then covered by end-of-life legislation. In fact, the law does not state that  “all treatment options must be exhausted” before considering medically assisted dying. Furthermore, patients who cannot afford treatment could also be legally entitled to ask for medical assistance to die.


This situation has triggered reaction from opponents of euthanasia who last month published a report on the  “hidden problems” in Oregon’s medically assisted dying legislation. They denounce a “permissive law”, which, on the contrary, was presented at the time the vote was held (in 1994) as “a restrictive law”, authorising medically assisted dying only for the terminally ill. Since then, California, Colorado, Vermont and Washington have also adopted laws based on the Oregon model.


According to the authorities, no patients with a chronic, non-terminal illness have undergone euthanasia. However, as far as Doctor Toffler is concerned, “there is no way of knowing whether abuse has been committed in Oregon” because death certificates are not always accurate enough and the documents are destroyed after one year. 

Washington times, Bradford Richardson (11/01/2018)

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