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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.

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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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Lives are precious, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise

The New Zealand Herald, 28 February 2018

Most older people I know, like me, forget names, lose their keys, and fairly often can’t find things they know they put somewhere. They have aches and pains and don’t enjoy them, don’t have their youthful libido, and may not feel confident climbing up ladders any more, but they don’t want to die.

Old age is not for sissies. Sometimes we are sissies anyway, but while the sight of a small flock of wax eyes feeding among flowers still makes us smile we are in and of the world, and our lives are precious.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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What happens when a patient says, ‘Doc, help me die’

by E. Wes Ely, CNN, 20 March 2018

I pulled a chair next to his bed so we could talk at eye level. His face was blank. “I want euthanasia. I’m going to die soon, so what’s the point of living longer? I’m just wasted space.”

I felt nauseated. The illegality of euthanasia was not what ran through my mind. Instead I thought about how Paul had lost his sense of personhood. I thought about how I had chosen to become a doctor in the first place.

The problem with assisted suicide and euthanasia for Paul — and for others — is that it presented him with an illusion of ‘cure,’ when in reality it would have left him devoid of the healing he received.

  • Click here to read the full article.

 

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In Reply to Supporters of the End of Life Choice Bill

by Dr Rosalie Evans, New Zealand Doctor, 27 February 2018

I believe that the care of those who are suffering or who are terminally ill is a very important issue for New Zealanders in general, and for doctors in particular, to consider. We, as health professionals, need to think about how euthanasia and assisted suicide, if legalised, would affect both our most vulnerable patients and ourselves. 

Human dignity is innate to every person. It is not defined by a person’s abilities or by an individual’s contribution to society. I refute totally the premise that a person’s dignity is diminished according to that person’s degree of dependency on others for her or his care. 

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Doctors, Revolt!

by Rich Joseph, The New York Times, 24 February 2018

The biomedical sciences had begun to dominate our conception of health care, and he warned that “healing is replaced with treating, caring is supplanted by managing, and the art of listening is taken over by technological procedures.”

“Doctors no longer minister to a distinctive person but concern themselves with fragmented, malfunctioning” body parts, Dr. Lown wrote in “The Lost Art of Healing.”

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Fears voluntary euthanasia laws will make older people more vulnerable to elder abuse

by Rebecca Turner, ABC News, 24 February 2018

Dr Blackwell says there is a generation of elderly patients who could be vulnerable because they don’t want to be a burden on their family.

“In our practice we see elder abuse occurring in residential aged care,” he said.

“So, yes, there is potential then that if voluntary euthanasia legislation comes into being that people could, if you like, be headed in that direction without really wanting to go there.”

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Dr. Arnold Gold, 92, Dies; Made Compassionate Care a Cause

by Richard Sandomir, The New York Times, 2 February 2018

Dr. Arnold Gold, a pediatric neurologist whose belief in the importance of an empathetic bedside manner led him and his wife to create a foundation to inspire young doctors to practice compassionate patient care

Dr. Gold continued his humane approach as advances like M.R.I.’s and CT scans revolutionized medicine. But he became distressed in the 1970s and ’80s, he said, as he watched students and other doctors become too focused on technology and not enough on the people they were treating.

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MEDIA RELEASE – New Zealanders’ right to democratic process

Immediate Release

The Care Alliance calls on the Justice Select Committee to make an official media announcement about the extended submission period for the End of Life Choice Bill. Care Alliance Secretary, Dr Peter Thirkell, is concerned that the general public needs to be made aware that the closing date for submissions is now midnight on Tuesday 6 March.

He also calls on the Committee to publish on its website the nearly 11,500 submissions received and processed so far, which is usual practice but not yet carried out.

“It’s important that the Justice Committee recognises that every voice counts in what is meant to be a democratic process,” says Dr Thirkell, “and that the process should be open, accessible and equitable.”

“Providing early access to all submissions on the website can only help to better inform everyone about the issues at stake in this Bill. We’ve found that the more people get to know about it, the less they like it.”

 

For all media enquiries please contact 

Dr Peter Thirkell

Care Alliance Secretary

secretary@carealliance.org.nz

027 563-5086

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Nurses’ unique perspectives on end-of-life choices must be heard

by Taumihau Teremoana, Nursing Review, 1 February 2018

The topic of end-of-life care without fail brings up the “ineffectiveness” or “effectiveness” of our palliative and hospice Services. I would like to weigh in on this argument as a registered nurse who has seen for seven years the direct impact of resourcing on the delivery of patient services.

Our pride in holistic care; critical thinking and unique perspectives need to be included in these discussions. As for my opinion: I’ve concluded that this Bill, although presenting itself as a compassionate means of addressing suffering, will unfortunately fail to achieve this holistically in our society.

  • Click here to read the full article.