29 people die after receiving lethal prescriptions


By Guy Page

Over a recent two-year period, 29 people died in Vermont after receiving a lethal prescription per Act 39, the 2013 law legalizing physician-prescribed death, according to a legally-required Dec. 2 Vermont Dept. of Health report

There were 29 total “events” (deaths following a lethal prescription) reported between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2021.The events fell into the following underlying diagnoses groups:

• 72% were due to cancer (21 total cases);

• 7% were due to ALS (2 total cases);

• 10% were due to Neurodegenerative Disorders (3 total cases); and

• 10% were due to other events (3 total cases).

All 29 events have a death certificate on file with the Vital Records’ Office. All of the death certificates listed the underlying disease as the cause of death, and ‘natural’ as the manner of death. This means that this report will contain no information that could be used to potentially identify any patients or health care providers, the Dept. of Health said.

 Among the 29 confirmed deaths, the mechanism was:

• 17 utilized the patient choice prescription (59%)

• 10 died from the underlying disease (34%)

• 1 other (3%)

• 1 unknown (3%)

From May 31, 2013, until June 30, 2021, there have been 116 events, the DOH report said. The events fell into the following underlying diagnoses groups:

• 89 (77%) were due to cancer

• 13 (11%) were due to ALS

• 6 (5%) were due to Neurodegenerative conditions

• 8 (7%) were due to other events

The Department of Health used the Vermont Prescription Monitoring System (VPMS) to identify patients that had filled a prescription under the law. The Department positively identified 21 out of the 29 deceased cases as having filled a prescription under the law. There are a variety of reasons that might account for the remainder of the prescriptions not being present in VPMS, including those that were not filled or were filled out of state, DOH said. 

9 replies »

  1. Welcome to the Nu Vermont, the place where unborn children, the infirm and elderly all come to die. $10k relocation bonus may be used towards your funeral with paid property tax bill. Aborted babies composted for no charge.

  2. I plan on living it out til the end, no matter how bad it gets…I didn’t use to think that way, in fact, I considered it with my doctor, but I have since come to terms with my fears and that’s all it is. Sure, swallowing a couple of pills and going into the big sleep sounds nice and convenient and you’re in full control, but it’s also sinful and not what humans are all about…It goes against the very grain of our innate drive to survive…Life is God given and thus under his terms & since death is merely a sequence of life, I’ll stick to his rules.

  3. Excuse me, is this an issue? The greatest cause of death in the US today is medical malpractice and incompetence. That includes people who do not want to die. Stay away from doctors and hospitals if you want to live.

  4. I have watched a very loved one die a terrible lingering death, without any hope of “recovery.” Endless pain patches, endless visiting nurses, ZERO hope of healing or recovery. Guarantee of long lingering horrible death.

    If that loved one had wished to choose quiet death rather than death by months of agony and horrid pain, Would God or Loved Ones Condemn that peaceful choice?

    Whose God says torture is the proper fate for an intelligent God loving

  5. Remember the old adage that where there is life there is hope? Well, apparently not in VT. Our state is getting as close to hopeless as a state can become.

    Life is full of all types of horrendous suffering & I feel deeply grieved about what many have had to endure, however, I agree that only God is capable of giving life & thereby it is only His to end (except of course in a case of self defense when one’s life is threatened).

    There have been many substantiated, well-known cases of people who were told expressly that they had no more than 6 months to live, but then confounded doctors by living for many years more (including decades). There are medically documented cases of serious & even terminal cancers disappearing & are often referred to as “spontaneous remission” though sometimes the cancer never returns.

    Hope springs eternal. Never lose it. Besides we are each immortal beings so one way or the other, thanks to our Creator, we live for eternity.

  6. Well this is one of very few issues I will disagree with most on this page. I am all for this and am really disappointed that the more religious on this page that have a problem with this due to their “religion”. I have no problem with how anyone else wants their end to come, but you better extend that same right to me. I don’t want to sit mobileless for months in pain when my time comes. And I am truly happy that Vermont gives me this option. Like the face diapers, no one is forcing you to choose this option, but don’t you dare tell me I have to suffer for months, and cost hundreds of thousands of useless dollars, when my time has come!

    • It’s a personal choice, I fully agree…Since I’m the only one who’s stated to date that I won’t take my own life due to my religious beliefs, I’ll assume you may be referring to my comments….

      I was told two years ago I have about a year to live. I was also told what to expect in terms of the pain and suffering I would undergo for a prolonged period…I have to tell you I was scared…I had cancer three years prior and had a 50/50 chance of survival and was not nearly as scared as I was when I was given that year…I’m still here, some suffering but nothing like it’s gonna get towards the end…Now I’ve always looked almost my entire life for the path of least resistance…The easy way out and I figure this time around I owe it to myself and God to live this thing called life out to the very end…No hospitals, no doctors for a year now and I plan to keep it that way til the end…The only one I’m burdening is my wife and grown kids and they don’t want to lose me until it’s absolutely the end….

      I’m not telling you anything and I didn’t think I was trying to tell anyone how to die. That’s definitely a personal choice and I have mixed feelings about the options available here in VT…But as I indicated at the beginning of my initial comment, I did talk to my doctor about taking the medical route but decided against it…For me, again, my choice is a personal one…Nothing more, nothing less.

      All the best.

    • Lescobrandon – I’m not religious, but I still think it’s a terrible idea to have state-sanctioned suicide. With perverse incentives, one can expect perverse outcomes (and the stakes are quite a bit higher than the face diapers.)

  7. The same bunch of people who have advocated for the “right to die” use the easy suicide argument to want to restrict access to guns because they are often used as a method of suicide. It is true that once a trigger has been pulled, there is no changing one’s mind, but who is anyone to question the reason or the method behind another’s decision to take their own life?
    Suicide, whether done with a gun or using Vermont’s physician assistance statute is a deeply personal matter and once we as a State have incorporated it into our laws in effect condoning it, that invalidates any interference by government toward someone who makes such a decision.

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