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Legalising voluntary euthanasia a slippery slope: Geriatrician

by Anneke Smith, Hawke’s Bay Today, 19 May 2018

His biggest concern was that doctors and nurses would become too relaxed about the due processes in place and end the lives of those who either didn’t want euthanasia or weren’t eligible.

“A person might have a severe disability or illness which qualifies him or her for euthanasia but what do you do about the next person comes along who has not quite got the same symptoms and signs as earlier ones but is also demanding euthanasia?

“Over a period of time you get this thing called incrementalism, gradual development where what started as a small issue become a major issue in society.”

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Being exquisitely careful…

by Henry Cooke, Stuff, 22 May 2018

Tawa doctor and chair of the Health Professionals Alliance Catherine Hallagan submitted strongly against the bill.

“It is a bad bill that cannot be fixed,” Hallagan said.

She said doctors and other health professionals did not want the law. No safeguards built into the law would be sufficient to make sure patients were not being coerced into choosing death by family or others.

“Doctors cannot prove that coercion does not exist,” Hallagan.

Sinead Donnelly, a palliative care doctor, agreed with Hallagan, saying coercion would be impossible to avoid.

“We have no doubt that coercion occurs in daily life. The older, the mentally ill, the frail, are more susceptible to coercion, which can be extremely subtle,” Donnelly said.

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Legalising ‘assisted dying’ would have been putting the cart before the horse

by Living and Dying Well, 18 May 2018

The States of Guernsey, the Bailiwick’s Legislature, has rejected a Requete – a formal proposal – to commission a working party to develop a legal framework to enable doctors to supply or administer lethal drugs to seriously-ill people. 

No, the issue won’t go away and those who govern us are going to have to find answers to the problems that a changing society is bringing.  But they need to be well-considered answers based on careful study of serious evidence and they need to be answers for all, not just for some. 

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‘End of life bill demeans the disabled’

by Thomas Coughlan, Newsroom, 22 May 2018

The euthanasia bill risks sending a message to the disabled that their lives are valued less than the lives of abled-bodied New Zealanders, the Disability Rights Commissioner says.

She argued that the inclusion of disabled people in the legislation sent a message that disabled lives were not worth living.

Tesoriero said that a suicidal disabled person who met the Bill’s criteria would be allowed to end their life, whereas an abled-bodied person who also wanted to end their life would be given social support and counselling and would be prohibited from assisted suicide. 

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Record number of submissions on euthanasia bill forces committee to delay its report

by Isaac Davison, The New Zealand Herald, 21 May 2018

Public hearings begin today on the End of Life Choice Bill, and so far 35,000 submissions have been received.

The committee was initially given nine months to hear the submissions, an extension on the usual six months. It has now pushed the deadline back another three months, to March, to cope with the huge workload.

Select committees usually choose which submitters they want to hear from in person, but because of the significance of the legislation the Justice Committee has decided to hear from anyone who wants to make an oral submission.

So far, 3500 people have said they want to appear in person.

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What does euthanasia mean for those who want to live?

by James Eglinton, The Sunday Herald, 17 May 2018

A society that legalises it automatically creates a new pair of choices for all of its citizens. These choices – to stop living, or to carry on living – are both novelties occasioned by the legalisation of euthanasia. If the terminally ill are granted the right to die, every terminally ill person who declines this new possibility is necessarily making the counter-choice to carry on living. The same is true regardless of which group is given the right to choose death: the old, the ill, the depressed, the poor, and so on.

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Pediatric palliative care: living with hope and quality throughout illness

by Amanda Alladin, Miami Herald, 24 April 2018

Pediatric palliative care is a specialty that aims primarily to relieve the burden of suffering for children and families living with any chronic, complex or critical illness. Although we tend to equate suffering only with physical pain, suffering can take many different forms.

Pediatric palliative specialists seek to provide an extra layer of support for these families struggling to cope with their child’s illness by addressing the many different forms that coping can take, assisting them through the difficult decision making and, at the same time, focusing on symptom management to improve quality of life.

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When it comes to ageism, are we fighting a losing battle?

by Catherine Foot, Centre for Ageing Better, 1 May 2017

Ageism is the last socially normal, socially acceptable form of prejudice. It’s been internalised, ingrained in us. It’s the last taboo.

People tend to think of ageing in terms of loss: whether it’s of loved ones; physical and mental capability; or independence, identity and sense of purpose.

Ultimately, we can’t prevent these losses, but I believe our response to longer lives needs to do six things to manage them and prevent ‘internalised ageism’ from taking root…

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I am a disabled person and I don’t back the right to die for one very important reason

by James Moore, Independent, 5 October 2017

I am aware that even the late Professor Stephen Hawking shifted his position on assisted suicide, arguing in a BBC interview that “to keep someone alive against their wishes is the ultimate indignity” and stating that he would consider assisted suicide were he in “great pain or felt I had nothing more to contribute but was just a burden to those around me”. 

But that comment about being a burden troubles me. It’s very possible that an otherwise more or less happy disabled person could suddenly find themselves in a difficult situation with family or carers, and could, as a result, start to become so convinced that they were a “burden” that they might feel the same way when with the proper support they wouldn’t dream of it. 

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Euthanasia Bill risks are too great – expert

by Emma Jolliff, Newshub, 27 April 2018

Anyone who claims assisted dying already happens in New Zealand is peddling fake news, a palliative care expert says.

A panel of specialists says the End of Life Bill going through Parliament is dangerous and the burden on doctors to assist a patient to die is too great.

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