Oregon, ever creative in health care controversy, is now moving to ban the sale of "suicide kits".
The article notes that state lawmakers are moving to outlaw the kits because, among other reasons, they may lack safeguards. And who says suicide doesn't have a funny side? All sorts of questions come to mind: Can you sue for a defective suicide kit? Could the elderly or terminally ill lobby to demand that third party insurance cover the cost of the kits? Would a physician need special CME for prescribing a celestial tour? If the dearly departed is found by the wrong person, can the manufacturer, the prescribing physician, or both be held liable for a HIPAA violation (clearly the discoverer will have discovered the patient's medical condition). How much office time would be hogged up by obtaining prior authorization for one of these? What are the 'core measures' for end-of-life, and would meeting these get a Medicare bonus? Could Michael Jackson's Diprovan-Man, "Dr." Conrad Murray find new career life as a paid spokesman for this industry?
These are pertinent questions in days of financial squeeze. As the kit vendor noted, "It costs a lot to die, if you want to do it the proper way." Lawmakers are missing the opportunity for significant end-of-life savings offered by self-administered compassion, provided it can be done safely.
(Contributor's note: Yes, that actually is the state motto.)