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Doctor-assisted suicide increases in Oregon



Published: Sat, March 8, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Doctor-assisted suicideincreases in Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Thirty-eight people in Oregon killed themselves with help from their doctors in 2002, the highest number in the five full years that the state's physician-assisted suicide law has been in effect.

Oregon is the only state where terminally ill patients can legally obtain lethal prescriptions from their doctors.

A state report in today's New England Journal of Medicine showed that doctors wrote 58 prescriptions in 2002 for terminally ill patients who qualified under the voter-approved law, and 38 committed suicide.

That is more than twice the number of patients who took their own lives in 1998, the first full year the law was in effect. That year, doctors wrote 24 lethal prescriptions and 16 patients used them.

Most of those who ended their lives were older, well-educated cancer victims, said Dr. Mel Kohn, state epidemiologist and co-author of the report. The primary reasons cited included loss of independence, a decreasing ability to participate in activities that make life enjoyable and loss of control of bodily functions.

Satirist targets Cheney

NEW YORK -- An Internet lampoon of Vice President Dick Cheney's wife is no laughing matter at the White House, which has asked a satirist to remove pictures of her -- complete with red clown noses -- from his Web site.

But the New York Civil Liberties Union struck back Wednesday on behalf of John A. Wooden, 31, threatening a lawsuit to protect his First Amendment rights to parody the White House and Bush officials on his site, whitehouse.org.

The official White House site is whitehouse.gov.

Cheney counsel David S. Addington warned Wooden's Chickenhead Productions Inc. that Lynne V. Cheney's name and pictures -- altered to show her with a red clown's nose and a missing tooth -- could not be used to make money without her consent, and asked Wooden to delete the photos and "fictitious biographical statement about her."

Instead, Wooden cautioned Web site visitors that the vice president "wishes you to be aware ... that some/all of the biographic information contained on this PARODY page about Mrs. Cheney may not actually be true."

Mismanagement charge

BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro -- Slobodan Milosevic's wife will go on trial next week on charges of mismanaging state property during the former president's rule, a court said today.

Mirjana Markovic is accused of illegally providing their grandson's nanny with a state-owned luxury apartment in Belgrade in 2000.

The Belgrade district court said that Markovic will be tried along with 10 other Milosevic-era officials who face similar charges of "inappropriate use of state property." The offense carries a sentence of up to five years in jail.

Associated Press




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