Department of Health reports 16 percent increase in 'death with dignity'on May 2, 2012 @ 6:25 pm (Updated: 7:03 am - 5/3/12 )
The Health Department reports 103 people who were terminally ill got lethal doses of medication last year, under the state's Death with Dignity Act. That's up 16 percent from the year before.
The Washington State Department of Health says nearly 80 percent of the patients were dying from cancer, most of them lived west of the Cascades, and they were between 41 and 101 years old.
"We also learned that 93 percent of them died at home and 83 percent were enrolled in some kind of hospice care at the time of their death," says Health Department spokesman Donn Moyer.
Of the 103 people who got lethal doses of prescription medication last year, 94 are known to have died. Seventy died after taking the medication.
Many of the patients told their doctors they were worried about a loss of autonomy and that was their reason for taking part.
The Death with Dignity Act passed in 2009 and since then, 255 terminally ill adults have received medication in Washington. The Health Department collects the information and releases an annual report.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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