Misconceptions about I-1000

My buddy The Rooster posted a blog today about why he isn't voting for I-1000. I already figured he wouldn't based in his religious views. In his post he pointed out the reasons he didn't agree with the law, and I responded with why he's wrong!!!!!!

Since I am such an outspoken supporter of this law, I decided to post what he wrote and my responses.


Rooster Not Fully Studying - There are no penalties for doctors who fail to submit or falsify reports of participants in the Death with Dignity act. In fact, death certificates are actually required to be falsified stating the cause of death was the terminal illness, not the lethal overdose of the “drug”. This means the initiative is safeguarding itself from being reported on and identified as being taken advantage of for potentially ill motives from less than honest people. Face it, the health industry is full of people like that.

Fact - Who gives a shit what the death certificate says. It's all clearly documented (and required) in the persons medical records. If you want to see how many people died from taking the drug, it is tracked. Since our law mirrors Oregon's law, you can look these numbers up on the Oregon governments website. If you do, make note of the fact that only a little over half the people who get the pill actually take it. "During 2007, 85 prescriptions for lethal medications were written under the provisions of the DWDA compared to 65 during 2006 (Figure). Of these, 46 patients took the medications, 26 died of their underlying disease, and 13 were alive at the end of 2007. In addition, three patients with earlier prescriptions died from taking the medications, resulting in a total of 49 DWDA deaths during 2007" only 341 people have died using this since it has become law in 1997. There is absolutely no incentive for a physician to falsify records in this situation, and since so many people have to be involved, it would be pretty damn difficult to do, if not impossible. And finally, there are penalties, once again if you had actually read the law, you'd see that falsifying information is a class A felony. Here's the link you want to read the actual initiative on something other than the no to I-1000 website.

Rooster Not Fully Studying - The request form does not encompass all the limitations for witnesses as outlined in the initiative, specifically that someone who would benefit from the estate cannot be a witness. This is a legal loop hole that would allow individuals acting as a witness not be held liable if one or more of them would benefit from the death.

Fact - Out of 37 people last year, you are trying to imply that a magic percentage of them, are trying to force loved ones into killing themselves. You don't have a lot of faith in people do you? The law states that the request must be "signed and dated by the patient and witnessed by at least two individuals" it also very clearly states that one of the witnesses "shall be a person who is not a relative of the patient by blood, marriage, or adoption, a person who at the time of the request is signed would be entitled to any portion of the estate of the qualified patient upon death" It goes on but is basically saying one person has nothing to gain from the persons death.

Rooster Not Fully Studying - Statistically, only 2% of applicants for the “Death with Dignity” act from Oregon were referred to a psychiatrist even when applicants have a history of depression and/or suicide attempts. I-1000 says a doctor SHOULD refer the person to psychiatrist, but is not required to do so.

Fact - The law states "if, in the opinion of the attending physician or the counseling physician, a patient may be suffering from a psychiatric or psychological disorder or depression causing impaired judgment, either physician shall refer the patient for counseling." it goes on to say that the physician can't prescribe the pill until the therapist "determines that the patient is not suffering from a psychiatric or psychological disorder or depression." Have you considered that if only 2% were referred to a psychiatrist, that its possible everyone involved felt that the person was making a competent decision. Or do we have to go back to your apparent lack of faith in people?

Rooster Not Fully Studying - In Oregon, nurses assisted with a suicide of a patient without the knowledge of the doctor. The department of health protected these nurses under Oregon’s Death with Dignity law. In WA’s law, there is no mention of immunity or penalization for anyone who falsely takes action in the name of the law.

Fact - Who's ass did you pull this out of? I think what you are talking about is one case in 2007 where two nurses illegally gave one patient morphine and Phenobarbital to end her life. Both nurses were held liable and charged. This law does in fact hold liable anyone who is found to be "negligent conduct or intentional misconduct by any person" I think a lawyer could easily make the case that "any person" covers doctors, nurses, and insurance providers. And throughout the law it's clear that the prescription has to be written by the doctor. Last I checked, nurses weren't allowed to write prescriptions.

Rooster Not Fully Studying - There is no mention of what the intended drug is and there is no guarantee it will work. This can result in side effects which are far worse then the terminal disease and can cause more suffering for the patient.

Fact - "Complications were reported in three patients during 2007; they all regurgitated some of the medication. One person lived 3½ days." Side effect = living 3.5 days longer than you wanted in 1 person.

Rooster Not Fully Studying - Doctors cannot be sued for malpractice if they push someone to take the drug. Sure, a very small number of doctors are quacks, but the ones that are should be convicted. However, this act protects them.

Fact - This isn't one doctors decision. The law states the patient has to be "competent in the opinion of the court or in the opinion of the patients attending physician and consulting physician" oh and not to mention the counselor or therapist, and two witnesses . Sure one doctor might be, but come on all of them. That's 4 to 5 people besides the patient.

Rooster Not Fully Studying - Governer Booth Gardner, the spokesman for this law, states this act is a “first step”. First step to what?! There are no safeguards to stop health insurance providers from pushing Death with Dignity in place of proper treatment. Historically, in Oregon, these health insurance providers have been known to recommend alternate physicians until they find one that will approve the lethal drug. Hm, makes me wonder if the insurance providers are the real people behind this proposed initiative?

Fact - Historically? Interesting that you don't link to proof of this statement. Because there is nothing in the law that says the insurance providers can't be sued if found to be in the wrong.