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Old age alone shouldn’t be considered a justification for physician-assisted death

by Tom Koch, The Globe and Mail, 09 April 2018

“Good treatment addresses our fears, it does not embrace them. It helps people through and past crisis points. That won’t happen when age is considered a terminal diagnosis, however, when physician-assisted death is the go-to answer.”

  • Click here to read the full article.

Tom Koch is a Toronto-based consultant in gerontology and chronic care. He has written extensively about aging, disability, elder care and medical ethics.

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Positive and Negative Medical Developments

by Professor Michael Kennedy, Australian Medical Association, 14 March 2018

Frequently, patients suffering from neuromuscular degenerative diseases appear in the media supporting euthanasia. The eminent neurologists John Walton and Roger Bannister were among the strongest public and at committee level opponents of euthanasia legislation. There are many drugs now in the clinical trial stage that may considerably improve the outlook of these patients. When penicillin was first used in a patient with terminal sepsis it was described by the administering doctors as a ‘miracle’.

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Calling a spade a soil relocation aid

by Jonathan Hatfield, The New Zealand Herald, 27 March 2018

Assisted dying is a vague term and could mean no more than the important service of rearranging the pillows for a dying person. 

The End of Life Choice Bill talks of assisted dying but with no indication of how this is to happen until the last major paragraph of the extensive explanatory notes. There, as part of a much longer sentence, the bill finally says,’ the medical practitioner must administer it,” and so, in six words it defines assisted dying as euthanasia in the present meaning of the word.

If we are to debate and reach conclusions about this important subject, we must have a clear idea about what we are debating. Clarity is therefore important.

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Landmark Canadian court case proves euthanasia safeguards aren’t there

20 March 2018

“The current landmark court case in Canada again reinforces the fact that laws legalising euthanasia cannot provide safeguards that work,” says Dr Peter Thirkell, Care Alliance Secretary.

Roger Foley has cerebellar ataxia, a terminal and incurable severe brain disorder that limits movement and leaves him unable to perform basic tasks independently. He wants to be able to live at home, but has instead been offered only two options: a forced discharge from hospital or medically assisted death. Because of this, Mr Foley is suing the hospital, several health agencies, and the attorneys general of Ontario and Canada.

“The Canadians haven’t had their law for very long and yet already we can see that the idea of choice is a myth – real choices are not available for patients to be assisted to live,” says Dr Thirkell. “This is happening in the same country that David Seymour calls “advanced” with a law that he points to as an example to be followed.”

“Mr Foley’s case highlights the substantial dangers that people with disability and serious chronic and life-limiting medical conditions will face if Mr Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill is passed.”

Under the End of Life Choice Bill, it is not necessary for a patient to have their basic needs met before seeking euthanasia, and there is no obligation to ensure real alternatives are explored; the patient must simply be “aware” of them.

“The Bill targets people who may have complex health needs, and who rely on our health system for care. We should be providing the highest standard of care and support to live, which meets those needs.”

“True patient-centred care enables the best living possible, personalised to the patient where appropriate medical expertise and care is properly provided. That’s what palliative and hospice care does and that’s why palliative and hospice care should be invested in.”

“Mr Foley wants to live and the irony is that it is the availability of legal euthanasia and assisted suicide that marks for him the end of any choice for life.”

The Care Alliance stands in solidarity with Mr Foley in his action to be assisted to live to, as he says, “build my circle of care that works with me”.

END

Published at Scoop NZ.

For all media enquires please contact Dr Peter Thirkell, Care Alliance Secretary

secretary@carealliance.org.nz

027 563-5086

 

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Kylee Black: End of Life Choice Bill alarmingly ambiguous for disabled people

by Natalie Akoorie, The New Zealand Herald, 7 March 2018

She pointed out that the bill in its current form does not address whether a doctor is allowed to raise euthanasia with a patient. And that a doctor is not permitted to dissuade a patient from euthanasia if they are eligible.

“What happens if I, as a young person with an irremediable condition, wheel into a doctors and say, ‘I’m suicidal, my life has suffering. I want euthanasia’, and a person without a health condition goes in and asks for the same thing?

“For people not eligible for euthanasia, support to live is given. Does that mean healthy people get access to suicide support, but those with an incurable disability do not?”

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Should people with ‘addictions’ be euthanased?

by Mark Powell, The Spectator, 7 March 2018.

The range of medical conditions for which patients can request euthanasia has expanded over time. It now includes not just terminal or degenerative illnesses but any condition that, in the patient’s view, produces unrelieved, intolerable suffering. The grounds for euthanasia in these countries have been taken recently to include intractable depression, chronic forms of addiction, autism and personality disorders and people who do not claim to have any disorder but are simply ‘tired of living’ and want to die.

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David Seymour needs to listen to NZ about euthanasia

by Dr Peter Thirkell, Newshub, 9 March 2017

Mr Seymour says that it is the quality of argument that matters, implying that the submissions in opposition are poorly argued, but not the pro-euthanasia ones. His presumption is staggering. Submissions to the Health Select Committee in 2016 were 80% opposed to euthanasia. They included people from all walks of life and levels of education.

Mr Seymour calls this a progressive bill, but progressive to what end? Progress is, in one sense, just a direction. And the direction of this bill emerges out of, and plays to, people’s fears: fear of a bad death; fear of becoming a burden; fear of losing physical and mental capabilities and social relationships.

  • Click here to read the full article.
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Seymour’s bill ‘woefully inadequate’: Disability Rights Commissioner

Tesoriero said legislative change in relation to end of life choice cannot be considered in isolation from the standard and current services and resources available to those who experience serious but non-terminal conditions or palliative care services. 

“In its current form, the Bill undermines the position of disabled and vulnerable members of our community. It devalues their lives and poses significant risks to them, as individuals and as a group.

IHC Director of Advocacy Trish Grant said the Bill’s stated purpose, to give “people with terminal illness or a grievous and irremediable medical condition” the option of requesting assisted dying had far wider implications than intended for people with disabilities, placing them at undue risk…

“Further, the Bill assumes all people in New Zealand have access to the same level of care and support to enable them to have the best quality of life and therefore able to make an informed choice about their right to die.

“But we know people with disabilities do not receive the same level of care and support.”

  • Click here to read the full article (The New Zealand Herald, 7 March).

“The key thing for New Zealanders to understand is that this bill goes beyond terminal illness,” Tesoriero told Newsroom .

“What people need to understand is there’s a really broad scope to the bill, and quite a range of disabilities or chronic health conditions could be considered a grievous or irremediable condition,” she said. “We haven’t had a discussion about the extension of the scope beyond terminal illness.”

“This whole bill is premised on a medical model, not the social model of disability which says that you are only disabled by the barriers that are put in your way. What we have to focus on is improving the support systems available to disabled people to enable them to live good lives rather than focusing on enabling a good death”.

  • Click here to read the full article (Newsroom, 8 March 2018.)

 

Read the Disability Commissioner’s submission to the Justice Select Committee on the End of Life Choice Bill here.

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Care Alliance Submission to Justice Select Committee

12 March 2018

The Care Alliance has made a submission to the Justice Select Committee on the End of Life Choice Bill. Submissions closed on Tuesday 6 March at midnight, and the Committee is now processing and  considering the submissions.

Read the Care Alliance submission below.

Care Alliance Submission to Justice Select Committee March 6 2018

 

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Being exquisitely careful with the lives of others: the case against euthanasia and assisted suicide

February 2018

Listen to the recent presentation Dr Sinéad Donnelly gave to Hospice New Zealand on euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Click here for the PDF slides to the presentation.

 

About Dr Donnelly

Dr Sinéad Donnelly is an Internal Medicine Specialist in Newtown, Wellington, New Zealand.

Dr Donnelly qualified in medicine in 1987 and completed her undergraduate medical degree with honours at National University Ireland Galway followed by Internal Medicine training in Ireland and Scotland with a clinical research fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, USA.

Dr Donnelly has extensive international clinical experience in general medicine. She is a Senior lecturer at Otago University Wellington, Module Convenor for Qualitative research part of Diplomas Clinical Research, Victoria University with extensive research publications on general medicine related topics. Sinéad is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and Royal College of Physicians Ireland.