Seventy people in Washington legally ended their lives in 2011 with the help of a physician. That continues a steady increase in each of the last three years. The latest numbers come from a report out [today] Wednesday on Washington's so-called Death with Dignity Act. The annual release of statistics on the law says 80 physicians wrote a total of 103 such prescriptions in 2011.
One of those patients was 57-year-old Meg Holms of Seattle. Her husband Andrew Taylor says she ended her life last October after a two-year struggle with brain cancer. "She left us on her terms in the presence of her brother, her sister, her two children and me when she wanted to. So I found that to be tremendously helpful to me know how much command the law gave her."
The 2008 voter-approved law allows terminally ill people in Washington to ask a doctor for a lethal dose of drugs. The law is based on a similar act in Oregon, first approved in 1994.
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