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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.”

  • Click here to read the full article.

 

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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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Physician-assisted suicide won’t atone for medicine’s ‘original sin’

by Dr Ira Byock, StatNews, 31 January 2018

From its inception, the profession of medicine has been charged with guiding society in matters related to health and wellbeing. Organized medicine should now be leading the charge for substantial improvements in caring for incurably ill patients. Instead, in several states the profession has begun to embrace physician-hastened death.

In today’s high-tech medicine, doctors treat disease. Patients’ well-being gets short shrift. When disease can no longer be kept at bay, modern medicine tends to give up altogether.

  • Click here to read the full article.
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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.

  • Click here to read the full article.
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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.

  • Click here to read the full article.
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No, most people aren’t in severe pain when they die

by Kathy Eagar, Sabina Clapham, and Samuel Allingham, The Conversation, 11 December 2017

Many people fear death partly because of the perception they might suffer increasing pain and other awful symptoms the nearer it gets. There’s often the belief palliative care may not alleviate such pain, leaving many people to die excruciating deaths.

But an excruciating death is extremely rare.

  1. Click here to read the full article.
  2. Kathy Eagar is Professor and Director at Australian Health Services Research Institute University of Wollongong, University of Wollongong
  3. Sabina Clapham is a Research fellow, Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration, University of Wollongong
  4. Samuel Allingham is a Research Fellow, Applied Statistics, University of Wollongong
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Dr Sinead Donnelly: Palliative medicine uses morphine with care

by Sinead Donnelly, The New Zealand Herald, 15 December 2017

Politicians do great harm to the perception of medical practice, and instil unnecessary fear and anxiety in the minds of the public, by promulgating, on national television, incorrect, misleading and unsubstantiated statements.

“By promoting the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide, David Seymour’s bill is seeking to change the nature of our medical profession from ‘care always’ to ‘why be careful!'”

Click here to read the full article.

 

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We do not like to talk about death – but that doesn’t make euthanasia the answer

by Richard Chye, The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 November 2017

However, my view, after a lifetime’s work in palliative care – having stood at the bedside of literally thousands of dying people – is that none of the issues that bring us to this point will be solved by introducing assisted suicide.

What will help requires far more of ourselves, our institutions and authorities: the adequate funding of quality palliative care for all, and nothing short of a revolutionary change in the way we discuss, respond to, and accept death – both as individuals and as a society.

Click here to read the full article.