Salem, Ore., Jun 8, 2017 / 23:08 pm
The Oregon Senate has passed an advance directive bill that critics say would allow the starvation and dehydration of patients who have dementia or mental illness.
Earlier this week, Oregon Right to Life executive director Gayle Atteberry said the bill was "written in a deceiving manner." She said its goal was "to save money at the expense of starving and dehydrating dementia and mentally ill patients to death."
S.B. 494 passed the Oregon Senate by four votes on June 8. The bill would remove existing safeguards that protect conscious patients' access to ordinary food and water even after they have lost the ability to make decisions about their care.
The bill was drafted in response to the case of Ashland, Ore. resident Nora Harris, who suffered from early onset Alzheimer's disease. She lost the ability to communicate and the fine motor skills needed to feed herself. She would eat and drink only with assisted spoon feeding.