Study says 17% of dying Oregonians discuss assisted suicide with families

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 20, 2004

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Almost one in five dying Oregon residents discusses physician-assisted suicide with families, said a report in the Journal of Clinical Ethics.

Oregon Health and Science University researchers interviewed 1,385 family members of people who had died between June 2000 and March 2002, and found that 17% of them said their dying relative had brought up the subject.

Oregon is the only state where assisted suicide is legal, and the state reports that 171 people have used the law to end their lives between 1998 and 2003. OHSU researchers report that although only one in 1,000 dying state residents goes through with the process, about 2% formally request a lethal prescription.

"We had no idea prior to our study how many Oregonians personally considered the option," said Susan Tolle, MD, study author and director of the OHSU Center for Ethics in Health Care in a press release. "According to this study, patients more likely to personally consider PAS are younger, white, not very religious and battling cancer."

Note: This item originally appeared at

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