Death With Dignity In WA Sees Slight Increase in 2014
In 2009 Washington voters approved what was called the "Death with Dignity" initiative, legalizing physician- assisted suicide in Washington state. Since then a total of 726 adults have chosen to end their lives with a physician-prescribed dose of lethal medication. The 2014 numbers show a slight increase over 2013.
According to the Washington State Department of Health, in 2014, 176 patients who were terminally ill took the medicinal dose and chose to end their lives. This represents about a 2 percent increase of 2013. 109 physicians wrote such prescriptions, filled by 59 different pharmacies.
It's interesting to note, say officials that the number of women utilizing this plan has risen to nearly half of the number. Also, the number of Death with Dignity patients has risen by 48% since 2013.
Officials say this is a perhaps an indicator that as time goes forward, the idea of Death with Dignity is losing some of it's 'social stigma' and becoming a more acceptable option for terminally ill patients to consider.
Potential patients must pass a stringent and careful examination and meet certain criteria to be able to utilize this plan, which also includes mental health evaluations to make sure the decision is made of sound mind.