Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hiding the Truth

Sanctioned death in Oregon is getting ugly. Without oversight of the sanctioned death program, Compassion and Choices is getting sloppy in their work. Last year two people took the lethal dose of drugs and didn't die. One of them remained in a coma for 3 1/2 days before coming out of it.

One of the two patients who awoke after ingesting the medication regained consciousness within 24 hours after ingestion and died of their underlying illness five days later; the other gained consciousness 3 ½ days after ingestion and died of their underlying illness three months later. Regurgitation was reported in both instances.

With sanctioned suicides going bad, what does Compassion and Choices do? Rather than correcting the problems leading to the torturous botched procedures, they get Oregon Health and Human Services to change the rules so they can hide how long each suicide is taking.

Procedure revision was made mid‐year in 2010 to standardize reporting on the follow‐up questionnaire. The new procedure accepts information about time of and circumstances surrounding death only when the physician or another health care provider was present at the time of death. Due to this change, data on time from ingestion to death is available for only 32 of the 65 deaths in 2010. Of those 32 patients, time from ingestion until death ranged from 5 minutes to 2.2 days (53 hours).

Allowing such cruel and unusual punishment to occur without government oversight or intervention is a clear violation of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.