From the Director

Gayle Atteberry ORTL Executive DirectorSome Oregon legislators and insurance lobbyists have recently devised another legal way to kill people. It is so horrendous and inhumane that you would not even treat your pet dog in this way. Just as bullies do, these legislators have singled out the weak and defenseless.

Senate Bill 494, if passed, would allow the starving and dehydrating deaths of conscious Alzheimer’s, dementia, and mentally ill patients. These are patients who are awake, can chew and swallow and want to eat, even though in some cases they may need help in delivering food to their mouths. Currently, safeguards in Oregon’s law protect these patients from this type of cruelty. This bill takes away those safeguards.

End-of-life decisions are very difficult. Families suffer emotionally as they make decisions whether to use or withdraw feeding tubes, place DNR orders, or use heroic treatments. Most of these decisions, however, involve patients in comatose situations, and most of them are free of moral implications. Most of them, also, are end-of-life decisions.

Alzheimer’s, dementia, and mentally ill patients, however, are not at the end-of-life stage. The problem is that, for some, especially insurance companies, they are not dying fast enough.

Families of Alzheimer’s patients have suffered emotionally and physically by the time they finally reach the point of placing their loved one in a memory care unit. Some comfort can be derived from the knowledge that their loved one will be receiving attentive and kind care in these facilities. Should this bill pass, that peace would vanish.

Please read the articles on pages one and four to learn implications of the passage of Senate Bill 494. Then, go to to identify and write your state senator, asking him/her to vote NO on Senate Bill 494.


  1. JMJ

    Please send me the update on SB494. Do you send a list of our legislators to us or do we look them up?
    We were caregivers for our parents and relatives and this is another one of the most inhumane treatments I have heard in a long time even though we were aware this was on the “list”.

    The question, also, to consider is who is judged to be “unable to make decisions about their own health care”? Where does that leave any of us!

    God bless you,
    Judith Newport

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