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My wife reversed her Do Not Resuscitate order – I can’t support euthanasia

by Name Withheld, Stuff, 27 December 2017

In early 2017 my wife received a double lung transplant. Her recovery was not straightforward.

On day 10 she had developed respirator acquired pneumonia. Doctors were hopeful for her recovery, but warned me that because her immune system was being suppressed (to prevent rejection of the new lungs), it was not certain.

On day 12, a Friday, I was told she almost certainly was not going to recover. I was warned that early the following week a decision about terminating life support would need to be made.

My wife’s doctor has since admitted that at that point the medical team believed she was going to die.

Despite this they did not stop assisting her fight for life. They tried two treatments they had previously been reluctant to attempt because they were high-risk. Over the next few days, my wife’s condition slowly improved. Now, eight months later, she is still in recovery but looking forward to an extended life span.

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Terry Dunleavy: MPs cannot pass the buck on euthanasia

by Terry Dunleavy, The New Zealand Herald, 29 January 2018

Euthanasia is one issue on which MPs cannot simply just pass the buck to the public. This is an issue which they, and they alone, should decide as a matter of conscience in the spirit of that memorable 1961 debate.

Already, euthanasia has been described as a “licence to kill”, and the start of a “slippery slope”. But, subjecting it to a binding referendum may also be the first step in a slippery slope to the death of parliamentary democracy.

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Peta Credlin: Euthanasia in Australia not the mark of a civilised society

by Peta Credlin, The Telegraph Australia, 26 November 2017

I think it’s a mistake to see it through a personal prism.

In fact, that’s an indulgence if you’re making laws because we should make laws for the most vulnerable in society; for the worst case scenario, not the best.

We must make laws for the lonely, the depressed, the mentally at risk, those who might be preyed upon, the very old and the very young.

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Alastair Scott: End of Life Choice Bill will alter pillar of society

by Alastair Scott, The New Zealand Herald, 30 December 2017

The law should apply to those who have carefully and philosophically considered their choice, supported by family and professionals, with a clear view about their choice.

However, it would also apply to those disadvantaged by age, physical or mental disability, sickness and poverty, and sadly those without the compassionate support of family.

Ill health is known to affect mental health, happiness levels and the ability to see a future without pain or despair. In a depressed or affected state I believe that one’s ability to make a definitive choice of this magnitude is compromised. A positive state of mind is regarded by many health professionals as a factor in physical recovery.

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Terry Sarten: Quality end-of-life care should be nation’s priority

by Terry Sarten, The New Zealand Herald, 21 January 2018

Voicing the notion of “not being a burden” is often heard here in New Zealand from those who have serious life-threatening illnesses. We can shift that burden by acknowledging the value of quality end-of-life care and pressuring government to fund it effectively.

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David E. Richmond: In 40 years of terminal care I’ve never seen unmanageable suffering

by David Richmond, The New Zealand Herald, 16 January 2018

In more than 40 years of medical practice as a physician, geriatrician and terminal care manager, I cared for many dying people. My testimony is that I have never seen a person dying with unmanageable suffering.

Dr Havill’s “take” on a whole range of ethical issues is far from current mainline thought. But what left a particularly sour taste in my mouth was his assertion that the rule of “double effect” allows doctors to “pretend” not to be killing a patient when in fact that is their intention. If we ever needed an argument for retaining a voluntary code of conduct such as the Hippocratic Oath, that surely is it.

David E. Richmond is professor emeritus of geriatric medicine at the University of Auckland.

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Wendi Wicks: Justice committee members all voted for Seymour’s bill

by Wendi Wicks, The New Zealand Herald, 22 December 2017

This bill is literally a matter of life and death. It’s not a time to cut corners, or do backroom deals for procedural advantage. We need to ensure choice is not only a choice to die, and not make life for disabled and other at-risk people even more risky. It’s a time to take the time to listen and think very carefully.

 Is it going to be an open, transparent and fair hearing of all New Zealanders who want to have their say?

When you come from a 25 per cent majority constituency (disabled people) who are alarmed to be directly in the loosey-goosey eligibility criteria cross hairs of this bill, open fair and transparent select committee dealings are minimum standard.

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The Alarming Trend Of Bullying Hospitals And Hospices Into Assisted Suicide

by Dr Will Johnston, Huffpost, 29 January 2018

Before they got their way in the Canadian Supreme Court, the public posture of euthanasia advocates was one of caution, reassurance and limitation of objectives. After their victory, partisans of the medical killing movement have become impatient with individuals or institutions who want no part in suicide and euthanasia. Activists recommend expanding access to include all the people who were strategically excluded from the plan that had been sold to the public: children, people with chronic nonfatal conditions, the physically disabled, the cognitively disabled, psychiatric patients.

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‘Death with dignity’ devalues disability

by Mike Volkman, Times Union, 27 November 2017

What does it mean to die with dignity? Or the opposite, what is death without dignity or with indignity? There is no legal definition. It is a phrase people like to use with the hope that it is sufficient and accepted. Remember the bit George Carlin did in 1992 about euphemisms? They hide the truth.

Legislative bodies should come up with legal definitions for the term. They should specify what constitutes dignified ways of dying. When they come to define what are undignified ways of dying, the challenge is how to do it without describing circumstances that go with disability. Because if they can’t get around that, then it makes one thing perfectly clear.

That one thing is that it is in the interests of the state to protect all lives except those of people with disabilities. If the presence of a disability, whether it is from birth or from later acquisition, makes it justifiable to place a value judgment on a person for a life-or-death decision, that makes an entire class of people subject to a double standard. That is state-sponsored bigotry allowing up to one sixth of the population to be discarded and unprotected.

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Disabled lives are worth living – euthanasia implies otherwise

by Claire Freeman, Stuff, 15 December 2017

While it is commendable that we are discussing euthanasia, we need to be extremely careful not to make assumptions about the quality of life of others like myself – people with grievous and irremediable medical conditions.

When the majority of health professionals believe that lives like mine are not worth living, we have a problem.

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