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Assisted dying would ‘erode the trust’ between doctor and patient

By Michael Hayward, Stuff.co.nz, 13th November 2019

Phil Bagshaw, a Christchurch surgeon, is concerned that if the End of Life Choice Bill becomes law, it will erode the trust between doctors and their patients. He said he could not support any version of the bill.

“If terminally-ill people were deteriorating, there were ways to keep them comfortable and without distress, and to ease their death… it could be done by experts but it was “somewhat costly”, although the Government could afford it. Palliative services should be available to anyone who needed them, he said. 

He was concerned about a condition of the bill that said only those with “a terminal illness that is likely to end the person’s life within six months” would be able to ask for access to assisted dying, as it was “almost an impossibility to say with any degree of certainty” how long someone who was terminally ill had to live.

Bagshaw also raised concerns about the bill going to public referendum. He said the issue was complicated and thought “pressure groups” on both sides would promote it as more simple than it was.

“They [the public] will hear both sides from two groups, both of whom have strong views and will put those views across in a powerful way, and I think it will be very difficult for most people to discern what is the common sense way out of what is in fact a difficult situation.”

Read the full article here.

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Teen says she maybe only knew her dad because euthanasia wasn’t legal

By Tom Hunt, Stuff,co.nz, 13th November 2019

“Glenn Major was a soccer dad and it’s down to him his 17-year-old daughter now represents Waikato and Bay of Plenty in the beautiful game. He doesn’t know this. He died nine years ago.”

“His daughter Rachel believes that if euthanasia had been legal when she was aged one there was a chance she would have never got to know her dad for the nine years they did have.”

“Rachel on Tuesday had a long list delivered to MPs, essentially asking if they realised how few safeguards there were in the  proposed final version of the End of Life Choice Bill. “

Read more here.

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New Zealand’s euthanasia bill is a step into the unknown for disabled people

By Wendi Wicks, The Guardian, 14th November 2019

“How can any MP be able to agree to a measure that endangers a whole community that they are not a member of?”

MPs have voted for a public referendum on the euthanasia bill, asking the vague question, “do you support this bill?”

“It’s to be hoped that the population at large can do a sound job, but that depends on the quality and range of information they get. MPs had a huge range of sound, factual information. But judging from their voting record, many clearly disregarded heaps of it.”

“Yes, there are many individual stories both for and against this bill. All deserve respect because telling them takes effort. But there’s more to good law than basing it on individual stories. It’s about the collective impact on our community. It should be good, safe law for all. That’s what MPs are there to do but didn’t.”

“The opposition we express is consistently based on concerns that society is full of negative, biased and discriminatory attitudes and behaviours, so that people think disabled lives are less worthy. Given this attitude as a basis, the state provides really limited support for us to live well. So it’s disturbing when laws are put up that mean the state will provide the means to die, not live. But that’s where we are now. We aren’t dead yet and we don’t want state-sanctioned death support.”

“A friendly QC commented on my vulnerability to the law thus: “You’re toast.” Me and how many other disabled people?”

Read the full article here.