Oregon Pharmacy Agency Will Investigate Failed Assisted Suicide Bid

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 10, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Oregon Pharmacy Agency Will Investigate Failed Assisted Suicide Bid Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 10, 2005

Salem, OR (LifeNews.com) — An Oregon pharmacy board plans to investigate a January case in which an Oregon man awoke days after taking a supposedly lethal dose of drugs prescribed to him under Oregon’s assisted suicide law. The case is drawing national attention in the concern over complications associated with the nation’s only assisted suicide law.

The inquiry by the Oregon Board of Pharmacy will cover the pharmaceutical aspects of the case, Dr. Mel Kohn, state epidemiologist, told the Oregonian newspaper.

"It appears to us the doctors did everything they were supposed to," Kohn said. However, the nature of the case warrants the investigation, he added.

In late January, lung cancer patient David Prueitt took a fatal dose of drugs, prescribed by a doctor, to take his own life. Three days later he woke up and wondered why he wasn’t dead.

The 42 year-old man eventually lived two more weeks before dying of natural causes.

Prueitt’s wife, Lynda Romig Prueitt, told The Oregonian newspaper that, when he awoke, Prueitt asked, "What the hell happened? Why am I not dead?"

Prueitt received a doctor’s prescription for 100 capsules of the barbiturate Seconal. On January 30, he swallowed the drug overdose, which was mixed with applesauce and water.

Investigators will examine the capsules.

"The capsules are just the shells, because we had to pull them apart to get the powder," said Dr. Nancy Crumpacker, a cancer specialist and medical consultant in the Prueitt case.

She told the Oregonian that the dusting of powder that remains could be helpful.

Crumpacker is a consultant for the pro-euthanasia Compassion in Dying and says she has never seen anyone wake up after taking the drugs.

Two days after Prueitt woke up, he told his wife he had been in the presence of God. He said God had rejected his death by suicide and sent him back to die naturally.