63 people prescribed lethal doses under Death with Dignity Act - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

63 people prescribed lethal doses under Death with Dignity Act

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OLYMPIA, Wash. - Lethal doses of medication were dispensed to 63 people in Washington state in 2009 according to the state's first annual report on the Death with Dignity Act.

The state Department of Health issued the first report Thursday on the act which went into effect on March 5, 2009 and covers all prescriptions for medication through December 31.

Of the 63 individuals who received lethal doses of prescription medication last year, 47 are known to have died. Thirty-six died after ingesting the medication. Those who died were between the ages of 48 and 95.

More than 90 percent lived west of the Cascades. Most had terminal cancer and all were expected to die within six months.

According to prescribing physicians, all of the patients who received medication and died had expressed concern about loss of autonomy as a reason for requesting a prescription. Other common reasons included concerns about loss of dignity and loss of the ability to participate in activities that make life enjoyable.

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