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

 

 

Death with Dignity Bill 2016 in South Australia lost by the narrowest of margins

The Death with Dignity Bill 2016 in South Australia was defeated at 4.12am 17.11.2016. As the final vote was tied at 23-23 the Speaker, Hon Atkinson, had a casting vote & he is strongly opposed to VE so voted against.

To quote from a brief report from SAVES: The many hours of debate were marred by general obstructionism – nitpicking, also fear mongering. There were excellent  supporting speeches as well.

The Bill did make history in South Australian, as it was voted into the Committee Stage where is is discussed clause by clause.  This vote passed 27 to 19. Essentially this meant that the principle of an assisted death choice was accepted by the Lower House of the South Australian Parliament.

Some of the quotes from MPs opposing compassionate choice in this  restrictive Bill are quite revealing…..   Here are some of those I describe as “pearls of wisdom”!!  Taken from Hansard.

Knoll – the reason this bill can never be good enough is that it is not about safeguards within the bill that is the issue, it is the actions of families, it is the actions of the medical profession, it is the actions or inactions of government that, in circumstances, will herd people towards this choice.

Pengilly – I have been hounded by members of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society in my own area, absolutely hounded. If that did anything, it hardened my resolve to stand up in this place and put on the record my objection to this legislation and the fact that even if this does not get through, it will come up again and again.

I am absolutely fed up to the back teeth with having euthanasia legislation rammed down my throat on a seemingly endless basis.

I sincerely hope that, in due course, when the vote does come, members in this place do not support moving past the second reading and that we get on with the important business in this place.

Atkinson  – Those who want AVE say they want personal autonomy in the manner of their death, yet they require the state to create and fund a vocation whose job it will be to terminate life.

Tarzia – I cannot support a bill that would potentially allow suicide to become a business. From my reading, that is what has happened in countries like Switzerland, and that is not right.

– Putting moral beliefs aside, and putting what the electorate wants aside, I believe it is plainly obvious that the practicalities also have to be considered. I do not believe we should pass this bill, which impairs the inalienable right to life.

Rankine – independent assessment by two doctors, and I can tell you from bitter experience it can simply be a ‘tick and flick’ exercise.

Williams   – I am not convinced that we need to bring in specific legislation at this point in the history of our species to cure something which we have lived and died with forever.

– I am concerned about what might happen in 20 or 30 years if we open this gate. If we apply our minds to the worst outcome of state-sanctioned killing it is certainly not beyond my imagination to see great evil emanate from this measure—great evil.

– I believe that the most vulnerable people in our society would be put under greater threat by this measure,

– We have a fantastic medical profession dedicated to supporting our health and wellbeing. What sort of message would we be sending to the medical fraternity if we suggested to them that there is a quick and easy way out of every problem that walks through their door?

Life is to be endured, unfortunately.

Piccolo – Palliative care workers believe that by improving the quality of, and access to, palliative care, there will be no need for voluntary euthanasia

Speirs   – Death is inevitable and suffering on earth is inevitable.

– palliative care should be able to comfort people when they are in significant pain and adding voluntary euthanasia into the mix negates the need to invest in palliative care, there is no doubt at all about that.

– Belgium and the Netherlands are specific examples of that, where children can now be euthanased. There is no getting away from that; I am not scaremongering by saying that children can be euthanased in Holland and Belgium.

– I do get sick of people saying that 80 per cent of South Australians or 80 per cent of Australians support voluntary euthanasia. ……….when you have informed discussion about this through focus groups and processes like the citizens juries that are often advocated by the Premier, that sort of informed decision-making, this support falls away. It falls away dramatically and ends up below 50 per cent, and the research shows that is the case.   (I would like to see details of this ‘research’)

Koutsantonis  – Again, after 19 years, my vote will be no. I know that within my electorate this [voluntary euthanasia] is overwhelmingly popular. Everywhere I go, when people talk to me about this issue, the same thing is said to me by my constituents, ‘We want you to support legalised euthanasia.’

Ms Vlahos  – Do we want to have a society where life is valued or do we start pulling back the tide and allowing, bite by bite, people to start disappearing from this place, this state, and not protecting them when they are frail and vulnerable?

Kenyon – there is no bill that I would vote for because I have a fundamental opposition to euthanasia. It is partly informed by my faith—I have never been afraid to admit that—but not perhaps in the way people would expect. It is more in the way my faith informs my view of human nature.

– I do not believe that the state should be involved in the killing of its citizens

– let’s not kid ourselves, from time to time people will do the wrong thing—that is when safeguards break down. If safeguards break down often enough, they become a norm, they become an accepted way of doing things, and they have completely and totally failed.

I will not be doing anything to help make it easier for anyone to vote for this bill because I think the concept of euthanasia is fundamentally flawed.

 

I can find others….. but this is a representative sample!!!!

Ian Wood

Create and send your personalised Voluntary Euthanasia Bill to the Politicians.

Here is an exciting new initiative from Andrew Denton and his team at Go Gentle Australia.  It is fully automated, takes only seconds to prepare, and looks impressive!
https://bethebill.com/bill/10153905379677338#

To quote from the Be The Bill Website…..

Create a version of a Voluntary Euthanasia Bill with your name in it, replacing the neutral legal word, ‘person’, as a symbol of your support. We’ll instantly send it to the 69 MPs in South Australia. Let’s remind them that the upcoming vote on the Bill is about real people, with real suffering, who are seeking the choice of a peaceful death. We won’t publish anything to your Facebook feed without your permission, but we hope you will share your Bill and spread the word.

The outcome of this vote won’t just affect one State. It will affect us all.

Please share on Facebook.

Regards

Ian

A thoughtful sermon from New Zealand in support of assisted dying.

Glynn Cardy, Minister at the Community of St Luke

Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand :: Remuera – Newmarket

Physician Assisted Dying

Colossians 3:12-15 Luke 5:25-34
Sun 28 June 2015

The debate about physician assisted dying has been given added impetus with the recent trial in the High Court regarding Lecretia Seales.  Those who are seeking a change in the law wish that no prosecution would follow if a terminally ill person had reached a clear, voluntary, settled, and informed decision to end their life and the assisting physician was motivated wholly by compassion.

There are a number of Christian denominations[i] that support passive euthanasia, namely the withdrawal or withholding of medical treatment for the terminally ill when warranted.  Passive euthanasia is legal in New Zealand.  Active and passive euthanasia though in a hospital setting are sometimes not as easily separated in practice as it is in theory.

While Christian leadership is generally opposed to physician assisted dying there are some important exceptions.  These include the renowned Roman Catholic theologian Hans Kung, the former Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu,[ii] and the former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey.  A UK poll (2015) showed 62% of religious adherents supported physician assisted dying.

Continue reading

My comment that Life Site News did not want you to see!

I  refer to the article in Life Site News by Brad Mattes: https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/assisted-suicide-no-longer-just-for-the-terminally-ill

Here is my comment that they posted briefly, then took down.

I respectfully take issue with some of the points he [Brad Mattes] makes and ask for clarification, and make a comment on other points.

– Mr Mattes states: Assisted suicide or euthanasia is currently legal in Albania, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Japan, Switzerland, and the NetherlandsWould Mr Mattes please provide me with a link to the Act of Parliament in Albania and Japan that legalises assisted suicide or [voluntary] euthanasia?

The closest I can find is that they both permit turning off life support systems, which is also permitted in   Australia.

– Next he states: Re Netherlands In 2013 — just 11 years later — it’s estimated they euthanized 650 babies. The use of the word ‘euthanized’ here is simply not correct! Research articles by Neil Francis, Dying For Choice, here and Prof, Colleen Cartwright confirm this.

On 12th June 2013 the KNMG [Royal Dutch Medical Association] issued a media release announcing that it  had published a position paper on ‘Medical end-of-life decisions in neonates with very serious defects’.  The media  release stated that of around 175,000 babies born each year in the Netherlands, “around 650 infants will die,  usually as a result of very severe congenital defects and in spite of the best possible intensive care treatment.”  Continue reading

“The Damage Done” Essential reading on the need for assisted dying laws – Andrew Denton

From the introduction until the last page “The Damage Done” contains very moving factual testimonies about the dying of 72 terminally ill Australians.  Every story indicates that in spite of the best efforts of palliative care, a change in the law is urgently required to give those who are dying an additional choice – the choice of an assisted death.

Congratulations to Andrew Denton and his team for collating and publishing this book.

“The Damage Done” can be downloaded as a free e-book from the Go Gentle Australia website.  http://www.gogentleaustralia.org.au/the_damage_done

As well as reading “The Damage Done”, please listen to Andrew Denton’s brilliant, well articulated and factual speech at the National Press Club, Canberra on the topic of assisted dying.   http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-10/national-press-club:-andrew-denton/7716946

Have you looked at the Andrew Denton Podcasts I mentioned in an earlier post?

Canada passes Federal assisted dying law

This is a major positive step in Canada, It is now up to Australia to follow this example.

The most comprehensive analysis of this change in Canada that I have read was posted on Facebook by Marshall Perron, who you may recall was Chief Justice in the Northern Territory . and who initiated the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act there some 20 years ago.

Here is Marshall’s posted article in full –

NEWS FROM CANADA
June 17, 2016: Canadian parliament completes passage of federal aid-in-dying legislation.

Yesterday will be remembered as yet another momentous step forward for our movement to establish the right to aid-in-dying as a fundamental human right.

Yesterday, Friday June 17, the Canadian Senate passed bill C-14 put forward by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party, which had previously been passed by the House of Commons. This made aid-in-dying fully legal all across Canada, and established a country-wide legal framework for its implementation.

There are many parameters of the new Canadian law which are similar to those of our own Oregon, Washington, Vermont and California laws. The Canadian law allows assisted dying for consenting adults “in an advanced stage of irreversible decline” from a serious and “incurable” disease, illness or disability and for whom natural death is “reasonably foreseeable.”

Canadian Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Health Minister Jane Philpott issued a joint statement, saying: “The legislation strikes the right balance between personal autonomy for those seeking access to medically assisted dying and protecting the vulnerable.” The new law has the strong support of the Canadian Medical Association, which said in a statement that it was “pleased that historic federal legislation on medical aid in dying is now in place.” Cindy Forbes, president of the CMA, said the law brings clarity and balance to assisted dying. “I feel very confident the government has done the right thing.”

A brief summary of the history leading up to this momentous event: In June, 2014, the Canadian province of Quebec passed a groundbreaking and far-reaching aid-in-dying bill, and in February, 2015, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled unanimously (nine to nothing !!!!) that aid-in-dying is a fundamental human right for terminally ill people, part of a broader human right to compassionate care at end of life. On December 10, 2015, the Quebec law went into force. And on June 6, the Canadian Supreme Court’s ruling took effect, invalidating all previously existing laws banning aid-in-dying.

To us in the USA, it’s fascinating that the debate in Canada over the bill has not been about whether aid in dying should be legal, but rather about whether the new law goes far enough, and in particular that it does not help people who suffer from intolerable medical conditions even though they may not be “terminal.” The Canadian Supreme Court’s 2015 decision establishes intolerable physical suffering as a condition for aid in dying without requiring that the person be terminal. However, Ellen Wiebe, a Vancouver doctor who has been assisting in deaths, said she sees the new law as flexible. In her view, patients with advanced multiple sclerosis, who would die if they did not accept treatment, could be deemed to face a “reasonably foreseeable” natural death, and therefore be eligible for medical assistance to end their lives.

Andrew Denton clear and compassionate speech on the need for assisted dying in Australia

Andrew Denton’s masterly and compassionate summing up of the assisted dying argument is a ‘must view’ in his Keynote Address to the Voluntary Euthanasia Party (VEP) of New South Wales.

http://www.vep.org.au/audio

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