Five Washington patients with terminal illnesses ingested lethal doses of medication prescribed for them by physicians under their state’s new death-with-dignity law, approved by 58% of voters in a November 2008 ballot initiative.
At this article’s deadline, 14 patients had made written requests for life-ending prescriptions, according to a Web site updated weekly by the Washington State Dept. of Health. Thirteen lethal prescriptions had been dispensed by pharmacies. In two of these cases, a mental health professional was consulted and filed a compliance form. The psychiatric referral is required if the attending or consulting physician has doubts about the patient’s mental competence.
The whole shebang.