True Dignity Vermont has posted four times about the risk that patients taking assisted suicide drugs may not experience the peaceful death sold to them by Compassion and Choices. In the article linked below, US News and World Report makes the same point, including the fact that the drug that is often used, Pentobarbitol, is the same one that has resulted in several botched executions.
It is shocking that people in this country are being urged to execute themselves.
“I don’t think many people who are casual supporters of the Death with Dignity movement are aware that there are these sorts of risks,” says Tamara Tabo, head of the Center for Legal Pedagogy at Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, according to the US News article. She is quoted later in the article saying, “Everyone has a picture that it’s simple, clean, easy, and you fall asleep. That’s unfortunately not always so.”
As the article points out, it’s very difficult to test drugs intended to kill people, and without good test data, it’s difficult to control for all the variables that may impact an individual case. Even under the tightly supervised conditions surrounding the execution of a convicted criminal, there can be unexpected and unwelcome outcomes–so much so that opponents of capital punishment consider the use of such drugs “cruel and unusual punishment”and have worked to block their use. Meanwhile, proponents of assisted suicide paint a falsely rosy picture of the ease of death by prescription, and continue to work to make these drugs more readily available to people who wish to end their lives voluntarily.
True Dignity has posted about this topic before: http://www.truedignity.org/category/not-a-peaceful-death/
We also note that George Eighmey, who told US News and World Report that several of the people in Oregon and/or Washington who woke up after taking the drugs have retaken them, testified before a Vermont Senate Committee in early 2013 that no one who woke up after taking the drugs had chosen to take them again. We wonder why the states involved did not bother to interview all the patients who woke up, to find out what the experience of attempted suicide was really like.
Isn’t consent supposed to be informed? Don’t patients have a right to know they may suffer when they die from assisted suicide?