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The Oregon Death with Dignity Act turns 25 today.

On November 8, 1994, Oregonians voted to pass the first assisted dying law in the U.S. and the world, demonstrating their belief that terminally ill patients deserved the right to choose how they die.

The historic vote came after a hard-fought campaign led by a dedicated group of advocates, who drafted, promoted, and defended the statute from fierce opposition. Today we celebrate them, as well as the other courageous individuals across the country who have supported and grown the death with dignity movement over the past quarter-century.

The first-of-its-kind statute has survived multiple legal challenges and worked flawlessly, offering Oregonians with a terminal illness a way to control their final days. *The law **has provided a model for other states across the country*: eight states and Washington, D.C. now have assisted dying laws, allowing access to the option to 70 million Americans.

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It’s interesting that suddenly the UK police are asking for a reform of the
law forbidding assisted dying. There have been about a dozen attempts to change
the law since l936 and all failed. Britain lags behind many other countries which
have approved careful, thoughtful death with dignity laws.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset is among 18 PCCs to have
signed an open letter to the Ministry of Justice asking for the government
to reassess the law on assisted dying.

Martyn Underhill, who leads on the issue of suicide nationally for the
Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), coordinated the
letter, which has been sent to Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for
Justice, Robert Buckland.

Mr Underhill is leading the campaign on behalf of Ron Hogg, the Police,
Crime and Victims Commissioner for Durham, who has motor neurone disease
and wishes for the law to be changed to allow him to end his life.

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New voluntary assisted dying clinic opens in Basel, Switzerland

Pegasos Swiss Association (https://pegasos-association.com/)

Established in August 2019, Pegasos is a Swiss voluntary assisted dying (VAD) association based in Basel, Switzerland. Pegasos was founded in August 2019 by the same Swiss professionals who helped 104-year old Professor David Goodall to die in Basel in May 2018.

Pegasos is staffed by a committed team of Swiss professionals (including medical staff) who have been working in the assisted dying field in Switzerland for the past decade (mostly at other clinics).

Pegasos offers an dying service to approved adults of sound mind, regardless of their country of origin/ residence. Pegasos believes that it is the human right of every rational adult of sound mind, regardless of state of health, to choose the manner and timing of their death. Pegasos
enables a person to receive a peaceful, dignified and caring assisted death at their clinic in Basel.

The aims and objectives of Pegasos include:
— to cut some of the red tape (in terms of the way paperwork is handled)
— to minimise waiting time (allowing for urgent situations to be accepted in a matter of weeks not months)
— to offer a service that has English as its first language (cutting the risk of things being lost in translation)

Email: contact@pegasos-association.com
Phone: +41-79855-4090 (Skype preferred)
https://pegasos-association.com/

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A book just published you might consider
ordering from Amazon books. The title seems
self explanatory!

O, LET ME NOT GET ALZHEIMER’S, SWEET HEAVEN!
Why many people prefer death or active
deliverance to living with dementia
(paperback)

By Colin Brewer MD

[I’ve seen an advance copy; it is very informative and
also has an Advance Directive connected to dementia. It’s a low cost
paperback. –D H]
==========

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The demographics of patients seeking medical aid in dying (MAID) seem to be similar in both Oregon and Washington, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.

In a group of 3,368 prescriptions from 1998 to 2017 in Oregon and 2009 to 2017 in Washington, most patients in both states were insured, non-Hispanic white, and had some level of college education, the study showed. The most common diagnosis associated with MAID was cancer.

“Concerns that MAID would unintentionally target socially disadvantaged patients have not materialized, as evidenced by the data presented in this article,” wrote Luai Al Rabadi, MD, of Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon, and colleagues. “States considering MAID legalization may see similar results if they model their rules on those put into place in the US Pacific Northwest.”

Of the prescriptions given, 2,558 (76%) resulted in patient death from lethal ingestion. A little more than half of prescriptions were given to men (51.3%) and the majority were in patients older than age 65 years (76%) and white (94.8%).

Cancer was the most common underlying diagnoses associated with MAID (76.4%) followed by neurologic illness (10.2%), lung disease (5.6%) and heart disease (4.6%). Among the reasons given for MAID, loss of autonomy was the most common (87.4%). Only 4% of patients received referrals for psychiatric examinations.

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Two new books of interest, both by psychiatrists who believe in the
philosophy of assisted dying when desired and appropriate:

“A Dignified Ending:

Taking Control Over How We Die”
by Lewis Mitchel Cohen, MD.
Hardback.
(Rowman & Littlefield, NY 2019)
+++++

“O, Let Me Not Get ALZHEIMER’S Sweet Heaven!

Why Many People Prefer Death or Active Deliverance to
Living With Dementia”

By Colin Brewer MD
Paperback
(Skyscraper Publications, London, 2019)

I found both highly informative and well worth reading. Available
on Amazon Books. — D.H.

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Published annual reports from the Oregon Health Authority and Washington State Department of Health that ranged from 1998 to 2017 in Oregon and from 2009 to 2017 in Washington show some interesting facts about how the law is used.

They found that 2,558 – 76% – of the 3,368 written prescriptions resulted
in patients’ deaths, with patients more likely to be non-Hispanic white
(94.8%) and 65 years or older (72.4%).

The most common underlying illnesses
were cancer (76.4%), neurologic illness (10.2%), lung disease (5.6%) and
heart disease (4.6%), with loss of autonomy, impaired quality of life and
loss of dignity the most common reasons reported by clinicians for patients
who pursue medical aid-in-dying. Ages of all participants over the time
periods ranged from 20 to 102, and participation was nearly equally split
between males and females.

“Among patients who ingested the lethal drugs and were evaluable for
complications, only 4% experienced complications, the most common being
difficulty ingesting or regurgitation of the lethal drug,” according to the
study, published 9 Aug. 2019 in JAMA Network Open. “Short median times to
unconsciousness and death prevent undue and lengthy suffering and reflect
the efficacy of drugs used in (medical aid-in-dying).”

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After the publication of ‘Final Exit‘ in l991, it was often used by writers to illustrate their works, particularly TV. Wikipedia’s entry on the book lists 11 such instances Book still selling consistently in 2019. It has never won any prizes — but I suppose you wouldn’t expect that a how-to book on dying well would!! Today it is popular worldwide on ebook and KINDLE.

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The original publication of Final Exit in 1991 stunned the nation by offering people with terminal illness a choice on how–and when–to end their suffering. It helped thousands by giving clear instructions to doctors, nurses, and families on how to handle a patient’s request for euthanasia.

In the wake of court cases and legislative mandates, this revised and updated third edition goes far beyond the original to provide new information about the legality of euthanasia and assisted suicide, and a thoughtful examination of the personal issues involved. It has become the essential source to help loved ones and supportive doctors remain within existing laws and keep a person’s dying intimate, private, and dignified.

With deep compassion and sensitivity, author Derek Humphry spells out why a living will may not be sufficient to have a person’s wishes carried out–and what document is a better alternative. It updates where to get proper drugs and exactly how to carry out the quickest, most peaceful way to make a final exit. Finally, it gently talks to a person considering self-deliverance about alternatives, planning, and the means to make every death a “good death” at our time of greatest need.
…….
Latest edition of ‘Final Exit’ (2019) available on Amazon Books, Walmart Books, KINDLE, and ebook or paperback (signed by author Derek Humphry) at
www.finaexit.org/ergo-store

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Good Life, Good Death — YouTube video
Derek Humphry
•
4.6K views
The writer Derek Humphry talks about his memoir, ‘Good Life Good Death’.
4 minutes:
https://www.youtube.com/user/TheFinalExit

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