I am a cancer doctor in Oregon. The combination of assisted-suicide legalization and prioritized medical care based on prognosis has created a danger for my patients on the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid).
The Plan limits medical care and treatment for patients with a likelihood of a five per cent or less five-year survival. My patients in that category, who say, have a good chance of living another three years and who want to live, cannot receive surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy to obtain that goal. The Plan, however, will cover the patient’s suicide.
Under our law, a patient is not supposed to be eligible for voluntary suicide until they are deemed to have six months or less to live. In the well publicized cases of Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup, neither had such diagnoses, nor had they asked for suicide. The Plan, nonetheless, offered them suicide.
In Oregon, the mere presence of legal assisted-suicide steers patients to suicide even when there is not an issue of coverage. One of my patients was adamant she would use the law. I convinced her to be treated. Eleven years later she is thrilled to be alive. Don’t let assisted suicide come to Canada.