Difficult to find doctors to give lethal overdoses to patients


PORTLAND, August 19, 2002 ( - Physicians for Compassionate Care have revealed that in an electronic memorandum dated August 6, 2002, Kaiser Permanente NW, an HMO in Oregon where assisted suicide has been legalized, claimed it is difficult to find doctors to give lethal overdoses to patients.  So Janet P. Price, representing Northwest Permanente, sent a memorandum to 829 recipients requesting that all doctors willing to overdose patients give their name to Doctor Robert Richardson of the Ethics Service or to another Kaiser administrator.  The memorandum complained that Richardson’s Ethics Service could not find a doctor to give deadly drugs to a patient who was “suffering” and dying for three weeks.  The communication did not explain why the patient’s suffering was not adequately treated and relieved for three weeks or what Kaiser Permanente proposes to do to improve its pain treatment and palliative care.  Doctor Richardson is the same doctor-administrator who approved the overdosing of HMO patient Kate Cheney, despite the fact that Mrs. Cheney had been determined to be demented, under pressure from her family, and therefore not eligible for assisted suicide.  Some individuals have speculated that cost savings could be one motivating factor stimulating HMO administrators to provide so much support for assisted suicide.

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