Legalised Physician-Assisted Death in Oregon
In the United States, five states have legalised physician-assisted death (PAD), but most information and research comes from the state of Oregon, in which the practice has been legal since 1997. This law allows a physician to prescribe a lethal dosage of medicine to terminally ill, mentally competent residents, for the purposes of self-administration. Each year about 3 in 1000 deaths are from PAD and the patients most often have cancer or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Concerns that legalisation would undermine the development of palliative care and be disproportionately utilised by patients unable to access good end of life care have been unfounded.
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