Date of Defense




First Advisor

Dr. Mary Lagerwey


The Death with Dignity Act was first passed in Oregon on November 8, 1994 with 51.3% votes in favor and 48.7% votes against (Oregon State Archives, 2009). This act legalized Voluntary Assisted Suicide (VAS), where a terminally ill patient is prescribed a lethal medication by a physician, so that the patient has the ability to end their own lives. Under this law the patient must administer the medication themselves, and every aspect of the action must remain under the patient's control. The law also states that at least two physicians must confirm the patient's diagnosis, prognosis, and patient's decision making capacity before a patient can obtain the prescription. The physician must legally counsel patients about the available alternatives to VAS, such as comfort care, hospice care, and pain control. Physicians are also required to discuss the importance of having another person with the patient when the prescription is self-administered. However, the Act does not require that another person be present (Oregon Death with Dignity Act, 1997).

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only