Writing for Saturday Extra, Anna Kelsey-Sugg reports the views of intensive care specialists Prof Ken Hillman and Dr Charlie Corke. They describe how different it could be when the medical profession, a distraught family and the dying loved-one all meet together at the pointy end of life.
The push for euthanasia and assisted suicide is based squarely on the proposition that each person’s right to act autonomously includes the right to end one’s life as and when one chooses. But, Dr Tony Walter argues, “The single-minded valuing of individual autonomy fails those whose deteriorating body or mind compromises this very autonomy.”
“Both the pro- and anti- euthanasia sides in the euthanasia debate are trying to persuade the public to affirm their stance. So how are they presenting their cases to the public?” In the form of personal stories, says Margaret Somerville, warning that some pro-euthanasia stories are certainly not good news.
This ‘Letter from Belgium’ of 2015 is a long, deep, profound musing on the realities of assisted dying in a country where it has become commonplace. Another thought-provoking contribution from The New Yorker magazine.
Toby Hall, CEO of St Vincent’s Health Australia, says too many doctors aren’t trained to have difficult conversations with patients, and too many patients believe dying is always ‘painful, undignified and traumatic’. This simply isn’t true for most people with access to good palliative care.
John Inge is glad his wife was not offered assisted suicide as an option: her final months were a deep blessing as they both discovered that even as death approaches, life can be ‘delicious’.
Tom Mortier’s mother was depressed and alone when she was euthanased in 2012. He writes, “We are rapidly changing into a society of absolute loneliness where we don’t want to take care of each other any more. And when we suffer, we ask our doctors to kill us, breaking fundamental biological and human laws. However, by doing this, we create new and insoluble problems.”