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Hawaii's House approved an assisted-suicide bill patterned after the Oregon law last year but the Senate defeated it by a single vote. Governor Lingle has opposed such legislation. As more is learned about the issue, Hawaii's Legislature and the governor should reconsider. Of 1,902 doctors responding to a survey published this month in the Archives of Internal Medicine, nearly 400 said they had been asked by terminally ill patients for aid in dying, and more than half of those doctors told patients they would honor the requests under some conditions. One prominent condition was that the patient not be depressed at the time of the request. Eighty patients were assisted by their physicians in dying, even though it is illegal in all states except Oregon. Although 129 patients in Oregon have been assisted by doctors in dying since that state's Death with Dignity Act went into effect three years ago, nearly twice as many terminally ill Oregonians are speeding their own deaths without physicians' help, according to a study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine. One-third of the more than 300 nurses reported that they had cared for terminally ill patients who chose to stop eating or drinking to speed their deaths. Such patients usually die within two weeks of beginning their fasts. In both physician-assisted suicides and those that are entirely self-induced, the patients are reported not only to be terminally ill but to have decided their quality of life was poor and they were ready to die, but they were not depressed. The Oregon law requires that the patient has been diagnosed to die within six months. Doctors are allowed to write lethal prescriptions but not administer the drug, which the patients swallow on their own.