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United States Doctors Tweak Aid-In-Dying Drugs To Prevent Prolonged Deaths

by JoNel Aleccia, Kaiser Health News, 17 February 2017

Ms Aleccia reports that doctors providing assisted suicide Washington and Oregon are “once again rethinking aid-in-dying medications — this time because they’re taking too long to work.”

The first Seconal alternative turned out to be too harsh, burning patients’ mouths and throats, causing some to scream in pain. The second drug mix, used 67 times, has led to deaths that stretched out hours in some patients — and up to 31 hours in one case.

“[Twenty percent] of the cases were 3 hours or more before death, which we think is too long,” said Robert Wood, a retired HIV/AIDS researcher who volunteers with the advocacy group End of Life Washington, in an email. “The longest was 31 hours, the next longest 29 hours, the third longest 16 hours and some 8 hours in length.”

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