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Palliative care experts say euthanasia goes against core belief that death and dying are ‘natural part of life’

by Hawke’s Bay Today, 19 May 2018

We don’t talk enough about dying and we need to change that. We think it would help if people knew a bit more about the actual process of dying and what to expect
We suspect a lot of the current debate is fueled by fear of the unknown, and a lack of information about what care is available and what actually happens when someone dies.

“In our experience a good safe death is peaceful, dignified and a natural process.

“People advocating for a law change talk about choice, compassion, and dignity, as if euthanasia were the only way to achieve these things. But these are the founding tenets of Hospice services: you can have choice, compassion, and dignity at the end of your life, and you don’t have to kill yourself for them, or have someone kill you to achieve this.”

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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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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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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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Euthanasia bill ‘dangerous’ – Palliative care workers

by Emma Hatton, Radio New Zealand, 27 April 2018

The Netherlands, Belgium and Canada are some of the countries where euthanasia has been legalised.

But, Professor MacLeod said there was no place yet, where the law provided absolute safety to those who were vulnerable.

“There is no jurisdiction anywhere across the world that has produced a law that is safe – there have been cracks in all of them.”

Te Omanga Hospice medical director, Ian Gwynne-Robson, said one issue for the sector was ensuring it had enough experienced doctors.

He said if euthanasia was an option, inexperienced doctors may offer it as the best option, when this might not be the case.

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Comfort care, palliative care, hospice care explained after Barbara Bush’s death

by Nicole Villalpando, austin360, 18 April 2018

Choosing comfort care means that you are choosing treatment for comfort instead of a cure. If you had a disease like cancer, you would be deciding that you are no longer going to pursue chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

Instead of curative treatments, doctors focus on treatments to provide a good quality of life. “You’re forgoing life-extending treatments,” she says. 

People often confuse comfort care with hospice care or palliative care.

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She spent her working life caring for patients who were dying. Now she’s one of them

by Jessica Long, Stuff, 30 March 2018

She says talking about her journey through Mary Potter Hospice is a final service to her community. Without palliative care, she expects she would have been “completely lost”.

“To me, hospice care is about very holistic care. It’s not a number or person in front of you that gets diagnosed. It’s an entire family and their community. 

“I felt very ready to cope with things because of that [support]. To accept death and dying as a part of life.

“It’s really uplifting.”

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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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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.

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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.

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