11 people ended lives under assisted suicide law - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

11 people ended lives under assisted suicide law

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SEATTLE, Wash. - An advocacy group for Washington's assisted suicide law says 11 patients used medications to end their lives in the law's first six months.

The group Compassion and Choices of Washington says another five patients received medication but died without using it.

Dr. Tom Preston, medical director of the group, says the figures show the law is working as it should. He says the use of the act has been safe, legal and rare.

According to the Washington Department of Health, 28 people in the state have received life-ending medication under the act as of the beginning of September.

Wash. state has first death under new suicide law

(May 22, 2009)

A 66-year-old woman from Sequim is the first person to die under the state's new assisted suicide law.

Linda Fleming died Thursday night after taking drugs prescribed under the "Death with Dignity" law that took effect in March.

Compassion & Choices of Washington announced the death Friday morning.

The organization says Fleming was diagnosed last month with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

The new law was approved in last November's election with a nearly 60 percent vote. It is based on Oregon's measure which passed in 1997. Since then, about 401 people have used the Oregon law to end their lives.

Under Washington' law, any patient requesting fatal medication must be at least 18 and mentally competent. Two doctors must certify that the patient has less than six months to live.

The state Department of Health says it has received six forms from pharmacists saying they have dispensed life-ending drugs. >>More

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