Recently in Assisted Suicide Category

June 1, 2009

Washington Woman First to Die Under State's Death with Dignity Law

WA banner.jpgThe Seattle Times reported on May 23, 2009, that Linda Fleming, a 66-year-old Washington state resident, became the first to die under Washington's Death With Dignity Law, enacted last year. Diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, she choose to end her life before the increasing pain of her disease took away her ability to have the state of mind she wished to have at the end of her life.

Family members, her beloved Chihuahua, Seri, and a physician were with her when she died, according to Compassion & Choices Washington, the organization that sponsored the measure, which was adopted by Washington voters in November.

November 9, 2008

Washington Passes Physician Assisted Death Bill

Last week, Washington joined Oregon in passing a state initiative, The Washington State Death with Dignity Act, that permits doctors to assist terminally ill patients in ending their lives by prescribing lethal doses of medication. The bill contains safeguards, modeled after Oregon's 11-year-old assisted suicide law, designed to protect both physicians and their patients.

The campaign was the costliest for a Washington state initiative, with more than $6.5 million raised from individuals and organizations inside and outside Washington state on both sides. The bill will go into effect in March, 2008, and was passed by a margin of 59 to 41 percent.

As a New York Times article summarizes: Patients requesting this assistance must be mentally competent, residents of the state, have six months or less to live according to two physicians, observe a waiting period of 15 days after their initial request and then repeat that request -- both orally and in writing. They must be capable of administering the lethal medication themselves and agree to counseling if their physicians request it. In addition, these patients also must be informed by their health care providers of other feasible alternatives.