Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

Oregon's New Way to Die

Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

Oregon's New Way to Die

Article excerpt

Seemingly not content with having become the world's first jurisdiction to legalize physician assistance in suicide, Oregon has now decided to try the course of involuntary active euthanasia by a nurse, as illustrated by the recent case of Dr. James Gallant. Gallant has been accused by the Oregon State Board of Medical Examiners of engaging in "active euthanasia." He prescribed a powerful muscle-relaxing drug used in emergency situations to paralyze the breathing process, which was then injected by a registered nurse. The accusation and decision to pursue disciplinary action against Gallant comes in response to a complaint of unprofessional or dishonorable conduct initiated by Good Samaritan Hospital concerning the care of Ms. Clarietta Day in March 1996.

Day collapsed on the phone while calling 911 in the early morning of March 22. She was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a subarachnoid hemorrhage (burst blood vessel in the brain), a condition that is invariably fatal. Sometime before she died, Day had filled out an advance directive, which included instructions from August 1995, in which she wrote that should she become unconscious, she wished to be kept alive for at least forty-eight hours. …

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