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I want to care for people, not kill them

by Dr John Obeid, The Daily Telegraph, 16 November 2017

It is not uncommon for older patients approaching death or other patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness to go through a period of distress or depression as they strive to cope with their prognosis, the fear of the unknown and loss of their independence.

This is when our patients need us most. It is when as doctors and nurses we are called upon to not just cure in a physical sense but also provide healing in a holistic way, through giving our time and compassionate care to patients. It is unthinkable that we would assist such vulnerable patients with suicide.

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Five common myths about palliative care and what the science really say

by Anna Collins, The Conversation, 2 November 2017

Palliative care is delivered by a multidisciplinary team of experts, such as social workers, counsellors, nurses and volunteers, who are trained to respond to the needs of people with serious illness.

Palliative care is available at any stage of serious illness. Palliative care can be helpful and is recommended early in an illness to work alongside other medical teams to diagnose and treat the cause of symptoms, manage medications, help with communication or decision-making about treatment options, or provide family support.

The principal goal of palliative care is actually the opposite of dependency. It aims to support a person to maintain their independence and quality of life while living with serious illness.

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All About Relieving Suffering? Think Again

A blog post from HOPE: Preventing Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, 23 September 2017

It is surely irresponsible not to actually refer a person, who under the Bill’s requirements is supposedly experiencing suffering “that cannot be relieved”, to a palliative care specialist for a full and thorough palliative care assessment.

The Bill simply adopts a checklist, tick a box approach. Somehow the Minister is imagining that merely requiring assessing doctors to mention palliative care is sufficient to ensure that people “will never turn to” assisted suicide or euthanasia because they have not been provided with palliative care.

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Palliative care doctors hit out at state government’s proposed voluntary euthanasia laws

by Matt Johnston and Monique Hore, Herald Sun, 20 September 2017

But director of palliative medicine at St Vincent’s Melbourne, Associate Professor Mark Boughey, said he feared this would alter people’s attitudes towards healthcare and patients may feel pressure to end their lives early.

Deputy director of palliative medicine at St Vincent’s, Dr Jenny Weil, said doctors had major concerns about measuring life expectancy — with the Bill allowing for euthanasia within a year of someone’s expected death.

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“Going Palliative” is Not a Thing

by Staci Mandrola, Pallimed, 18 September 2017

Palliative care is for patients with any prognosis.

Palliative care manages distressing symptoms at any stage of life and illness. Palliative care provides social, emotional and spiritual support to patients dealing with serious illness and their families. Palliative care helps patients determine what gives their lives meaning and how available medical treatments support or prevent them from continuing to make that meaning.

Palliative care is not an “either/or” choice. It is a “both” choice.

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Asia-Pacific Hospice Group Condemns ‘Assisted Dying’

by Cynthia Goh, Asia-Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network, 2 August 2017

Associate Professor Cynthia Goh is Chair of the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network.

Australia and New Zealand are acknowledged leaders in fostering palliative care development in the Asia Pacific region. In much of this region, pioneers are struggling to establish good end-of-life services in the face of little political and financial support. Eighty percent of the world’s dying has little or no access to morphine for pain relief.

The United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand have been ranked as the top three countries worldwide in the 2015 Economist Quality of Death Index. The eyes of the world are on these nations and on how they discharge their responsibilities to dying people.

Click here to read the full statement.

This was also reported on by Living and Dying Well, a think tank based in the United Kingdom that explores the complexities surrounding the debate on ‘assisted dying’ and other end-of-life issues.