Oregon has become a main destination for "death tourism," as terminally ill individuals from states where assisted suicide is illegal travel to the state to obtain a lethal mixture of drugs to end their lives, reports the Daily Mail.
At least one clinic in Portland has begun accepting patients from out-of-state who have a prognosis of fewer than six months to live and fulfill the stringent criteria set by the state's Death with Dignity (DWD) legislation.
Dr. Nicholas Gideonse, the director of End of Life Choices Oregon, recently spoke to a panel and revealed that he is advising terminally ill individuals who are not residents of the state to travel to Oregon to end their lives. This is despite the legal ambiguity surrounding the issue.
Dr. Gideonse and the clinic operate in a legally uncertain area - while the state approved access to physician-assisted suicide for individuals outside of the state last year, it is not expected to be officially established as law until later this year.
Critics argue that the emergence of "death tourism" in Oregon and attempts to establish similar practices in Vermont highlight the U.S.'s descent into following Canada's liberal approach to euthanasia.
In Canada, minimal regulations have resulted in individuals with conditions as minor as hearing loss being granted access to assisted death. This has led to over 10,000 people being euthanized in Canada in 2022, making it one of the leading causes of death in the country.
A patient in Canada with a degenerative brain disease reported that a hospital staff member told him that keeping him alive in the hospital would cost $1,500 per day and suggested euthanasia as an alternative.
Critics claim that the legalization of euthanasia can create a disincentive for hospitals to provide proper care for patients, as they may opt for euthanasia instead to reduce the strain on the healthcare system.
This concern has been reflected in the rising number of euthanasia deaths in Oregon, where 383 people were reported to have received prescriptions under the DWDA in 2021.
As of January 21, 2022, 238 of these patients had passed away from taking the prescribed medications, with 20 of them having received their prescriptions in previous years.
This trend could signify the start of a dangerous pattern.
Reports suggest that there has been a marked increase in instances of euthanasia in the Western world.
Some question the motivations behind this trend, particularly given the connections of Dr. Gideonse to the advocacy group Compassion & Choices. This group originated from the Hemlock Society and the controversial actions of Jack Kevorkian, the infamous "Dr. Death" who was implicated in numerous assisted suicides before being convicted of murder.
A judicial determination should be made when it is necessary to hasten the death of an individual, whether it be a demented parent, a suffering, severely disabled spouse or a child.
- Former Hemlock Society Executive Director Faye Girsh.
The Hemlock Society, named after the deadly plant, was an American advocacy group that aimed to promote the right-to-die and assisted suicide.
It believed that individuals should have the right to determine what happens to their own bodies, including the choice to end their lives.
It celebrated the practice of mercy killings of individuals who were disabled or suffering from mental illness, with Derek Humphrey as its leading advocate.
Humphrey himself helped facilitate the deaths of his first wife, who was suffering from bone cancer, and his second wife's parents.
The phrase "medical assistance in dying" is misleading, as it implies that utilizing medicine to end a person's life is acceptable. This contradicts the purpose of medicine, which is to save and preserve life. Instead, we should prioritize providing proper care to those who may recover, as every life has intrinsic value and should not be terminated prematurely.
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