Author: Ian Wood (page 1 of 4)

Nurse Anne Maxwell – her passionate, emotional plea for voluntary assisted dying choice

Australia’s nurses are on the frontline every day, working with dying patients and their families, providing treatment, care and emotional support. They witness the suffering firsthand, so it is no surprise that the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association support the upcoming Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill.

Nurse Anne Maxwell shares her experience and explains why we need an assisted dying law in Australia. Please share.

Nurse Anne Maxwell

Australia's nurses are on the frontline every day, working with dying patients and their families, providing treatment, care and emotional support. They witness the suffering firsthand, so it is no surprise that the NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association support the upcoming Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill. Nurse Anne Maxwell shares her experience and explains why we need an assisted dying law in Australia. Please share.

Posted by Dying with Dignity NSW on Monday, September 11, 2017

Ian Wood response to Catholic Bishop Ingham. “Euthanasia: Bishop says there’s no need.”

In recent weeks nearby papers the Wollondilly Advertiser, the Camden Advertiser and the Macquarie Advertiser in NSW have run a series of articles on Voluntary Assisted Dying Choice. Most of them have been in support. The one exception, as we might expect, is from the Catholic Bishop Ingham of Wollongong. His opinion piece may be found here. http://www.wollondillyadvertiser.com.au/story/4842391/euthanasia-bishop-says-theres-no-need/

This is my response.

So Bishop Ingham believes advances in palliative care and pain management should negate the argument for the option for a dying patient, facing futile unnecessary suffering, to have a choice to end that suffering.

He does not say so, but we can assume he is adhering to the Catholic doctrine that suffering can be redemptive.

Nurse Barnes disputes the Bishop’s claim!

My name is Jen Barnes and I am a nurse of 40 years. I’ve seen a lot of deaths and some of them have been far from ideal. Now I have a terminal illness. It’s an aggressive form of brain cancer and I know that it can lead to a very undignified death.

I don’t want to die. No-one wants to die.

Palliative care is very good but I know that it doesn’t work for everybody. If it comes to it, I will want another option. [Voluntary Assisted Dying]

It’s very important to me to have control of my destiny.

(Abridged) Source: http://www.stopvictorianssuffering.org.au/petition_jen_barnes

Equally important, the Bishop’s claim about palliative care is not supported by Palliative Care’s own data; Inpatients during the terminal phase of their terminal illness: 4.2% report severe distress from breathing problems, 4.6% severe distress from fatigue, and 2.6% report severe distress from pain.

Experience in Oregon, USA, with assisted dying choice for 20 years, shows repeatedly that paradoxically many patients live longer when given the ‘green light’ for assistance. It is palliative in its own right. It is voluntary – the patient has to rationally and repeatedly ask for this assistance.

The issue is all about choice. Not a choice between life and death, but a choice between two ways of dying. Bishop Ingham is entitled to not request assistance for himself, but should not be entitled to use his position to deny other Australians their right to choose.

Governor Jerry Brown of California sums up the option very succinctly. Gov. Brown is a committed Catholic, who had formerly trained as a Jesuit, and as Governor he actually had the right to veto a California Bill allowing voluntary assisted dying.

Instead, in a very rational and compassionate letter, he concluded –

“In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death.  I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.”

Readers may note that Gov. Brown received support for signing this Bill from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, one of the world’s most esteemed religious leaders.

Ian Wood   11.8.2017

Rose and Ed – two very different ways of dying!

I have previously posted the story of Ed Ness, in his final hours………..

View the video and see for yourself the peaceful and happy emotional state of Ed Ness, pictured here

and in this video link http://www.cheknews.ca/exclusive-ed-ness-dies-peacefully-in-doctor-assisted-death-324498/  

Ed Ness died from terminal lung cancer after requesting and qualifying for assisted death in Canada, where it is legal.  Ed said goodbye to his closest friends and family. He was given medication that made him fall asleep and his last words to everyone were, “this is perfect.  He passed away peacefully within a few minutes.

Rose is pictured dying from an incurable progressive neuro-degenerative disease. ”Absolute torture!”  Rose was pleading for MPs in South Australia  to pass an assisted dying law.   24 MPs voted against the Bill, 23 MPs for the Bill, so Rose was forced to take the other option within current law, and she stopped eating. She took many days to die. Husband Bernie is still traumatised.  I trust her death is etched on the ‘conscience of those 24 MPs who took away the dignity of Rose. View the emotional distress endured by Rose here.  https://www.todaytonightadelaide.com.au/stories/roses-story

We are striving for a change in the law to give compassionate choice to people like Rose.

We fully support palliative care but sometimes PC is not enough, and this extra choice is needed.

A plea to clergy of any faith who support Voluntary Assisted Dying Choice – Please endorse our Statement of Support now

Statement of Christian clergy support for Anne Gabrielides and the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017.

Rev. Dr Craig de Vos, B.V.Sc., Dip.P.S., B.Th.(Hons.), Ph.D, highly respected as a theologian in social aspects of the New Testament, is a practising Minister who holds a passion for social justice issues.

Rev. Dr De Vos says, “Our politicians, often guided by dogmatic religious beliefs, continue to deny the majority who want the choice of a death with dignity.”

“Some oppose voluntary euthanasia and voluntary assisted dying choice arguing that it’s wrong because it’s playing God.  Yet so is artificially prolonging life, and so is allowing people to suffer an horrific death when there are more compassionate alternatives.”

Rev. Dr de Vos endorsed the statement by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who has said. “I believe in the sanctity of life. I know that we will all die and that death is a part of life. Terminally ill people have control over their lives, so why should they be refused control over their deaths? Why are so many instead forced to endure terrible pain and suffering against their wishes?”

Rev. Dr de Vos is Patron and member of the Executive of our group, Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia.

He concluded, “I have the utmost sympathy for Anne Gabrielides, who is facing an horrific death from rapidly progressing Motor Neurone Disease, and support her plea to NSW members of parliament to give people in her situation choice and control at the end stages of their illness. I hope these MPs will demonstrate true compassion and empathy for Anne when considering the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017.”

Signed

Rev. Dr Craig de Vos, B.V.Sc., Dip.P.S., B.Th.(Hons.), Ph.D,

PLEASE  message Ian Wood using the “contact” on our website if you are clergy of any faith who would be prepared to endorse this Statement

Endorsed by

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????

????

????

Etc…….

 

Authorised by Ian Wood

National co-ordinator and spokesperson for Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia

Villa 1, Hampton Mews, 4 Wills Place, Mittagong NSW  2575  AUSTRALIA

Website: www.Christiansforve.org.au

TO VIEW ANNIE’S VIDEO AND PLEA TO THE NSW MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT.

Anne (Annie) has rapidly progressing Motor Neurone Disease and her interview together with her family is truly heartrending.  Here> https://www.change.org/p/don-t-leave-me-trapped-in-a-dying-body-allow-me-to-die-peacefully

Why is the conscience of Liberal Tasmanian MPs so out of step with the conscience of the Tasmanian electors?

Why is the conscience of Liberal Tasmanian MPs so out of step with the conscience of the Tasmanian electors?

In the ‘conscience’ vote on the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 24.5.2017, there were 13 Liberal votes against the Bill proceeding, and only one vote in support. That is 7% support compared with 80% support by the voters!!  It is a travesty of the democratic system, where an MP is surely elected to represent the views of people who vote to elect that MP.

It is not as if the MPs are better informed than the public. I have not checked Hansard yet, but I did listen to much of the contributions MPs made to the debate. Most of the Liberal speakers simply indulged in scaremongering and hand wringing. Three or four seemed to say: “I agree with the concept but I cannot vote for it”. Farcical!

I do not recall that I heard one statement by those opposing that could be supported by evidence!

Judging by what was said, I seriously doubt if some had even read the Bill.

Why is true empathy and compassion for the terminally ill enduring futile unbearable suffering so lacking with these Liberals?

I suppose the one positive point from this debacle is that one young Liberal had the conscience and courage to break away from her colleagues. In the previous conscience vote on a similar Bill in 2013, all 10 Liberals voted against – surely a statistical impossibility for an issue supported by 4 out of 5 people generally.

What a mockery of the so called tenets of the Liberal Party!!! To quote from their website – We Believe: In the inalienable rights and freedoms of all peoples; and we work towards a lean government that minimises interference in our daily lives;………..

It is fascinating to compare this “Liberal conscience” with that of the Quebec Parliament in Canada.  Quebec is or was the most Catholic province in Canada, yet In 2014, their Parliament voted 94 votes to 22 to give their adult residents assisted dying choice.

Ian Wood

Please support Annie’s right to choose. A heart wrenching plea to our politicians.

Annie has extreme suffering as her Motor Neurone Disease is progressing rapidly.

Please view her video clip here.

Then sign her petition and share the link with your friends and ask them to sign too. As at June 3, Annie’s petition had 73,000 signatures.  Since making this video clip I understand Annie can no longer speak.

To really make a difference email the photo and link to your Member of Parliament and ask them to support compassionate legislation to give choice in dying for people such as Annie.

I could not help but contrast the traumatic emotional state of Annie compared with the peaceful and happy emotional state of Ed Ness, pictured here . 

and in this video link http://www.cheknews.ca/exclusive-ed-ness-dies-peacefully-in-doctor-assisted-death-324498/

Yet Annie is dying from terminal MND and Ed dying from terminal lung cancer. 

The crucial difference is that in Canada Ed now has the assisted dying choice. 

Both are short powerful videos that demonstrate visually to me what we are all fighting for.

We welcome the support of Canberra Quakers (The Religious Society of Friends (Canberra) Inc)

I was delighted to receive the following message on 11th May 2017.

Canberra Quakers (The Religious Society of Friends (Canberra) Inc) have joined Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia in supporting the principle of choice in end of life decisions. We understand that facing the end of life in the adverse circumstances of extreme illness is very difficult for the sick person and their carers. In current circumstances, legal constraints limit the choices which a person can exercise. We would like laws providing choices, suiting the beliefs of the sick person, without threat of legal penalties.

This is a valuable indication of positive support of our aim to have legal compassionate choice in dying.

Rose’s story. Today Tonight on 7, Adelaide. Why did all 24 MPs who voted against assisted dying choice decline to appear on camera?

Reporter Rosanna Mangiarelli, Today Tonight on 7 from Adelaide: It was late last year when we started this story, when the Death with Dignity bill [in South Australia] was defeated by the narrowest of margins, 23 votes to 24. We have waited since December for those most vocal about the topic to get back to us and last week all 24 who voted against the bill declined to talk on camera about the issue.  So tonight we bring you Rose’s story, who, when the euthanasia vote was lost, made a desperate decision to take matters into her own hands.

Link to Rose’s story

Ian Wood sums up: This must be one of the most moving 6 minutes of video I have ever viewed. I feel anguish for Rose and her futile suffering, sorrow for Bernie, and anger towards our politicians who continue to deny us compassionate choice in dying and refuse to accept the overwhelming evidence in support.

I have emailed the link with my comment to my local MP, Jai Rowell, and asked him to please heed the overwhelming evidence in support.  You may wish to email the link to your MP too?

Letter to Brad Hazzard, Minister for Health – Please have positive input into the NSW assisted dying draft legislation.

My email to our new NSW Minister for Health, sent 13.2.2017

Brad Hazzard
Minister for Health

Dear Mr Hazzard

Congratulations on your appointment as Health Minister for NSW.  It is encouraging that in the Daily Telegraph 6.2.2017 you are reported as recognising that more needs to be done for health matters in regional NSW.

You also stated that: “……often people depart this life in hospital…….”.  This is certainly true, as NSW Prof Ken Hillman has noted: “Up to 70% of people now die in acute hospitals, surrounded by well meaning strangers, inflicting all that medicine has to offer; often resulting in a painful, distressing and degrading end to their life.”

Research indicates that in fact 70 to 80% of terminal patients would prefer to die at home.  To enable this, adequately trained people are needed, plus the funding directed towards this service.  I imagine it could well be ‘cost effective’ compared with dying in an Intensive Care Unit or similar?  Ref: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-25/hundreds-access-program-of-end-of-life-care-at-home/6883162

Another issue relating to the terminally ill also attracts a similar level of 70 to 80% public support in NSW.  That of assisted dying choice for the terminally or hopelessly ill who are facing futile suffering.

A cross party group of NSW MPs is currently working on a draft Bill to enable this choice, and I respectfully urge you to please have positive input into this much needed legislation, with the aim of ensuring that the final draft is such that you as Minister for Health could publicly support and vote to pass it.  It does need to have a balance enabling access for the patients who wish to use it, and safeguards to protect from possible abuse.

There is now extensive data from other jurisdictions that proves this balance is possible.
– A wide ranging, in depth, Victorian Parliament Inquiry into End of Life Choices made Continue reading

VCAT rules in favour of Dr Rodney Syme

I am delighted with the news from DWDV (Dying with Dignity Victoria). Here is the item direct from their website.  VCAT is the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.   Dr Rodney Syme is a person of great compassion and a doctor with true empathy for his patients. Post by Ian Wood.

http://www.dwdv.org.au/news/vcat-rules-in-favour-of-dr-rodney-syme

DWDV Vice President, Dr Rodney Syme, cleared by VCAT

21 December, 2016

Dying With Dignity Victoria are delighted by the recent ruling in Dr Rodney Syme’s VCAT case, where he fought against a condition placed on his medical license by the Medical Board of Australia in relation to counselling that he was providing to a Victorian man.

From the final report:

“Dr Syme’s practise is limited to advising and assisting patients who are in the final stages of terminal illness and to whom a sense of control over their dying is important. His patients seek him out. He does not advertise for patients.

He therefore has contact only with those patients who self-identify as being part of a cohort for whom traditional palliative care options may not be acceptable. Having been contacted by them, he assists only those whom he is satisfied are in a sound state of mind and whose death from their disease is inevitable or whose disease has progressed to the extent that their lives have become intolerable to them.

It is widely accepted in palliative medicine that, consistent with this clause, doses of medicine may be given to patients to relieve their pain and suffering even though it is foreseeable and indeed inevitable that those doses will also have the effect of hastening the patient’s death. The use of morphine and sedatives for this purpose is widely accepted and meets the needs of many patients. However, not all patients wish to receive that form of palliative care because of the loss of dignity, control and comfort which can be associated with it.”

The final report on the case released by VCAT is an interesting read, frankly detailing the work that Dr Syme does in counselling people who are suffering from terminal or advanced incurable illnesses as they near the end of their lives.

In determining that Dr Syme’s practises and counselling are intended to relieve suffering and not primarily aimed at ending a person’s life, VCAT has ultimately found that Dr Syme’s practises are not a risk or a danger to the community. They cited his knowledge of palliative care, his extensive experience in counselling people who are irremediably suffering at the end of their lives and the professional manner in which he has conducted his counselling.

Read the full report by clicking here

 

 

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