End of Life Choices

Death With Dignity (DWD) Act

What are Oregon’s Death With Dignity eligibility requirements?

  • 18 years or older
  • Resident of Oregon
  • Diagnosed with a terminal illness by two doctors, i.e., illness is more than likely to end your life within 6 months
  • Mentally capable of making your own healthcare decisions when requesting and taking the medication
  • Physically capable of ingesting the medication without assistance.

Two Oregon physicians must meet with you and evaluate your medical eligibility. One physician prescribes the medication, and the other physician provides a supporting consulting opinion. If either physician questions your judgment, they can require that a psychiatrist or psychologist evaluate your mental capacity.

If I’m eligible for hospice, do I qualify for Death With Dignity?

Eligibility to use the law is not always the same as eligibility for hospice.

What if I change my mind about using the law?

You may change your mind anytime. This option is always your choice.

What is the process for aid in dying?

  • You must make two verbal and one written request to your physician
  • The written request is the “Request for Medication” and must be dated after you have seen both doctors
  • Only you can make these requests.

What about the medication?

There are several medications that your volunteer and your prescribing physician will discuss with you.

  • You must be able to self-administer the medication, either by swallowing or by self-administering a feeding tube
  • Your physician must mail or hand-carry the prescription to the pharmacy
  • A person you designate may pick up the medications
  • Depending on your insurance policy, the cost of the medication and/or physician visits may or may not be covered
  • There is NO obligation to fill the prescription or take the medication if you have it in your possession.

How is End of Life Choices Oregon involved?

Experienced volunteers are available to meet with you or talk with you by phone. Our volunteers can answer questions and address concerns about Death With Dignity. Although it is your choice, we also recommend that your volunteer be present at the time you take the medication.

Our EOLCOR medical director is available to talk with physicians to explain the requirements of the law. If your physician is not able or willing to participate in the law, let us know.

How do I talk with my physician about using Death With Dignity?

Many people feel anxious about talking to their physician about aid-in-dying. By discussing your choices early in your illness, you are more likely to have time to ensure that your end-of-life wishes are honored.

Suggestions for discussions with your physicians:

“I would like to have the option of using Oregon’s Death with Dignity.
Am I eligible?”

  • If yes:

“Will you be one of the two participating physicians?
Will you record that I asked on this date to use Death With Dignity and that I’m eligible?

  • If no:

“Will you record that I asked to use DWD and that I’m eligible?
Will you refer me to a doctor who will participate?

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