Cancer center goes public with assisted-suicide protocol

The physicians who run the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance do their best to treat patients who have cancer. For patients whose disease progression cannot be controlled, the University of Washington-affiliated comprehensive care center offers palliative care and transition to hospice.

And for those who seek physician-assisted suicide under state law, the center is prepared to help them with that, too.

Providing access to doctor-hastened death is an element of top-notch care for terminally ill patients, SCCA’s clinical leaders argue in a first-of-its-kind published report to outline an organization’s physician-assisted suicide protocols and the results for its patients. The authors wrote in the April 11 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine that their program should be “particularly instructive” to other comprehensive cancer centers in states where doctor-assisted suicide is legal or may be legal one day.

My latest front-page article. Read the whole shebang.