[Comment: Note that Compassion and Choices (aka Hemlock) is once again unperturbed by outrageous problems with assisted suicide: “It’s going to be highly unlikely that people are going to use his service. And we don’t charge. He charges $5,000.” N. Valko RN]
A Northwest Portland psychiatrist who the state has reprimanded for wrongly prescribing drugs says he plans to open a facility in the city and charge fees to help patients end their lives under Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act.
Stuart G. Weisberg has mailed invitations to local doctors and politicians inviting them to a July 21 “presentation” at the deluxe El Gaucho restaurant in downtown to unveil his new business, End of Life Consultants LLC.
Weisberg did not return calls Wednesday seeking more information on his venture, which apparently would be the first of its kind in the nation. Weisberg filed incorporation papers with the state June 2.
In the invitation to the July 21 dinner at El Gaucho, Weisberg said he has invited Jack Kervorkian, the Michigan pathologist who provided the drugs and the means for terminally ill people to kill themselves and served a prison sentence for his actions.
On the website for End of Life Consultants, Weisberg said he has obtained a Portland property that he calls “The Dignity House” where his patients under the Death With Dignity law can receive the medicine and die there. The website promises an address and photos next month.
Officials at nonprofit organizations that work with patients under Oregon’s assisted-suicide law expressed surprise at the little information they could glean about Weisberg’s proposal. The doctor has not spoken with anyone at the Death With Dignity National Center or Compassion & Choices of Oregon.
Last year, doctors helped 59 people to die in Oregon under the law.
“Never heard of him,” said George Eighmey, executive director of Compassion & Choices of Oregon, which assists more than 90 percent of Oregonians who die under the law. Eighmey said the only place akin to what Weisberg proposes is Dignitas in Switzerland.
And Eighmey said he does not believe Weisberg’s services would be necessary anyway.
“Ninety-eight percent of the people who receive the medicine under the Death With Dignity Act take the medicine at home,” he said. “It’s going to be highly unlikely that people are going to use his service. And we don’t charge. He charges $5,000.”
The website lists a host of fees, including a mandatory $600 for the stay at Dignity House and a mandatory $600 for “End of Life Camera,” which will record the patient’s last hours.
Optional fees include $400 for End of Life Catering, $400 for End of Life Security – a consultation with a “certified security agent” – $400 for linens and flowers from Weisberg’s home garden and $400 for End of Life Music, which promises two 100-minute sets of piano music that “will be magical.”
Weisberg, 37, is a solo practitioner with an office in Northwest Portland. In 2006, the Oregon Medical Board disciplined him for improperly prescribing psychoactive drugs to seven patients who were recovering drug addicts or dealing with chronic pain.
The board’s order said Weisberg, who earned his medical degree at the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2000, was terminated from his four-year residency at OHSU several months before he was to finish. No explanation was given.
[23/24 June 2010, Anne Saker, The Oregonian,