Oregon Death with Dignity Act

February 5, 2012 at 8:08 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

This is an assignment for my Ethics class.


The Death with Dignity Act was enacted by voting Oregonians in 1997 to allow people with certain terminal illnesses the legal right to expedite their deaths by voluntarily self-administering physician-prescribed lethal medications. Since the law’s inception, 525 people have died from ingesting the aforementioned medications. Patients who requested the end-of-life medications noted that their primary concerns of continuing without the medications were loss of autonomy and decreasing ability to participate in activities that made life enjoyable.


The physicians that are entitled to offer the lethal medications are MDs and DOs “licensed to practice medicine by the Board of Medical Examiners for the State of Oregon”. I find this interesting for two reasons: first, it seems appropriate to me that NDs are not on the list of “entitled” physician, and two, it seems unfair that NDs are not “entitled”.  The philosophy of Naturopathic Medicine includes doing no harm, as is included in MD philosophy; however, NDs also value the body’s innate ability to heal. In my opinion, if the body is unable to heal after attempts to regain its vitality, then the body has run out of vitality and the time has come for the person to pass on. On the flipside, this Act is another example of the limitation to the ND profession. When NDs have the same practicing rights as MDs and DOs, I believe that the nation’s healthcare system will be relieved of many burdens, including granting the people alternatives to their well-being.


Death with Dignity Act. Oregon Health Authority Public Health website.

http://public.health.oregon.gov/ProviderPartnerResources/EvaluationResearch/DeathwithDignityAct/Pages/index.aspx. Accessed February 5, 2012.




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