Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The High Financial Cost of (Regular) Suicides.

Dear New Hampshire House Members:

I am an attorney in Washington State where physician-assisted suicide is legal.  Our law is based on a similar law in Oregon.  I previously sent you materials, which can be viewed here

I write to discuss another factor for your consideration: Government reports from Oregon, showing a positive correlation between the legalization of physician-assisted suicide and an increase in other (regular) suicides. Of course, a statistical correlation does not prove causation.  The statistical correlation described herein, is, however, consistent with a suicide contagion (legalizing and thereby normalizing one type of suicide encouraged other suicides).  Please consider the following.

Oregon's assisted suicide act went into effect in 1997.  See top line at this link: http://public.health.oregon.gov/ProviderPartnerResources/EvaluationResearch/DeathwithDignityAct/Pages/index.aspx

By 2000, Oregon's regular suicide rate was "increasing significantly"  See second paragraph, http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/news/2010news/2010-0909a.pdf ("After decreasing in the 1990s, suicide rates have been increasing significantly since 2000"). 

By 2007, Oregon's other (regular) suicide rate was 35% above the national average. See second page at "A-57) http://maasdocuments.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/oregon-suicide-info_001.pdf

In 2010, the most recent report, Oregon's other (regular) suicide rate was 41% above the national average. http://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/oregon-suicide-report-2012-through-2010-pdf.pdf  Moreover and per this report, the financial cost of these other (regular) suicides is huge.  The report, page 3, elaborates:
In 2010, there were 685 Oregonians who died by suicide and more than 2,000 hospitalizations due to suicide attempts.  Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Oregonians ages 15-34, and the 8th leading cause of death among all ages in Oregon.  The cost of suicide is enormous.  In 2010 alone, self-inflicted injury hospitalization charges exceeded 41 million dollars; and the estimate of total lifetime cost of suicide in Oregon was over 680 million dollars.  The loss to families and communities broadens the impact of each death.  (Footnotes omitted).
Oregon is the only state where there has been legalization of physician-assisted suicide long enough to have valid statistics showing this positive statistical correlation between assisted suicide legalization and other (regular) suicides.

The enormous cost of increased (regular) suicides in Oregon, positively correlated to physician-assisted suicide legalization, is a significant factor for the House to consider in its vote on HB 1325, which seeks to legalize physician-assisted suicide.

For this and other reasons, I urge you to vote No in HB 1325.

Thank you.

Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA, President
Law Offices of Margaret K. Dore, P.S.
Choice is an Illusion, a nonprofit corporation
1001 4th Avenue, 44th Floor
Seattle, WA  98154
206 389 1754 main line
206 389 1562 direct line