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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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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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