Data have been released on the number and characteristics of deaths in the US State of Oregon during Calendar Year 2013 from physician-assisted suicide (PAS). The number of deaths recorded (71) shows a fall from the number (77) recorded for 2012.
However, these data need to be treated with some caution as they do not take account of 31 persons who were supplied with lethal drugs in 2013 and whose "ingestion status is unknown" - meaning that it is not known whether or not the drugs issued to them have been ingested. Some people who receive lethal drugs in one year take them in succeeding years and their deaths are recorded in subsequent reports - the number of PAS deaths reported last year for 2012 has been increased by eight as a result.
This year's report shows a higher-than-usual number of such outstanding cases and it is to be expected that, when the 2013 figure is revised next year, it will show an increase in the number of deaths from PAS. Whether the latest figure betokens a plateau in PAS deaths remains to be seen: the overall upward trend of the last 15 years has included several ups and downs between individual years.
The Oregon Public Health Division is required by the DWDA to collect information on the operation of the Act and to issue annual reports.
Here we provide the report for Calendar Year 2013.
Previous annual reports can be accessed below: