Oregon Death With Dignity Law

Power of Attorney and Health Care – General – Oregon

Definitions

An “adult” is an individual who is 18 years of age or older.

An “informed decision” is a decision by a qualified patient, to request and obtain a prescription to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner, that is based on an appreciation of the relevant facts and after being fully informed by the attending physician of:

His or her medical diagnosis;

His or her prognosis;

The potential risks associated with taking the medication to be prescribed;

The probable result of taking the medication to be prescribed; and

The feasible alternatives, including, but not limited to, comfort care, hospice care and pain control.

A “terminal disease” is an incurable and irreversible disease that has been medically confirmed and will, within reasonable medical judgment, produce death within six months.

Request for Medication

An adult who is capable, is a resident of Oregon, and has been determined by the attending physician and consulting physician to be suffering from a terminal disease, and who has voluntarily expressed his or her wish to die, may make a written request for medication for the purpose of ending his or her life in a humane and dignified manner.

No person shall qualify under the Oregon Death With Dignity Act solely because of age or disability.

Form and Witnesses

A valid request for medication must be in substantially the statutory form, signed and dated by the patient, and witnessed by at least two individuals who, in the presence of the patient, attest that to the best of their knowledge and belief the patient is capable, acting voluntarily, and is not being coerced to sign the request.

One of the witnesses shall be a person who is not:

A relative of the patient by blood, marriage or adoption;

A person who at the time the request is signed would be entitled to any portion of the estate of the qualified patient upon death under any will or by operation of law; or

An owner, operator or employee of a health care facility where the qualified patient is receiving medical treatment or is a resident.

The patient’s attending physician at the time the request is signed shall not be a witness.

If the patient is a patient in a long term care facility at the time the written request is made, one of the witnesses shall be an individual designated by the facility and having the qualifications specified by the Department of Human Services by rule.

Written and Oral Requests

In order to receive a prescription for medication to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner, a qualified patient shall have made an oral request and a written request, and reiterate the oral request to his or her attending physician no less than fifteen (15) days after making the initial oral request.

At the time the qualified patient makes his or her second oral request, the attending physician shall offer the patient an opportunity to rescind the request.

Right to Rescind Request

A patient may rescind his or her request at any time and in any manner without regard to his or her mental state.

No prescription for medication to end a qualified patient’s life in a humane and dignified manner may be written without the attending physician offering the qualified patient an opportunity to rescind the request.

Waiting Period

No less than fifteen days shall elapse between the patient’s initial oral request and the writing of a prescription for medication to end a qualified patient’s life in a humane and dignified manner.

No less than 48 hours shall elapse between the patient’s written request and the writing of a prescription for medication to end a qualified patient’s life in a humane and dignified manner.

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