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US sees first legal case of physician assisted suicide

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7137.1037 (Published 04 April 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1037

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  1. Deborah Josefson
  1. San Francisco

    An 85 year old woman with metastatic breast cancer from Oregon has become the first known person legally to commit physician assisted suicide in the United States.

    The death was announced by the advocacy group Compassion in Dying. The woman, who was not named, was prescribed a lethal dose of barbiturates, which she took with brandy. She died at home 30 minutes after drinking the mixture.

    Oregon is the only state in which doctor assisted suicide is legal, although over 20 states have had ballots on the issue. The Death with Dignity Act, also known as Measure 16, was originally passed by a narrow margin in 1994. It was challenged …

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