Tag: voluntary euthanasia (page 1 of 3)

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

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

????

????

????

????

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

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.

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

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

Very promising news from Victoria

The Victorian Parliament Legal and Social Issues Committee has tabled its Final Report on its Inquiry into End of Life Choices. This includes recommendations on palliative care, Advance Directives, etc, and particularly Recommendation 49: That the Victorian Government introduce a legal framework providing for assisted dying, by enacting legislation based on the assisted dying framework outlined in this Report in Annex 1, Assisted Dying Framework Summary.

I was invited to address the Inquiry in Melbourne as a witness, and I am pleased to be quoted twice in the full Final Report. It now remains to be seen if the Victorian Parliament will proceed to adopt and enact legislation on the recommendations.

To access the full Report click here> http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/committees/SCLSI/EOL_Report/LSIC_58-05_Text_WEB.pdf  or the Summary Booklet please click here> http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/committees/SCLSI/EOL_Report/LSIC_58-05_Booklet_Text_WEB.pdf

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