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Choose Life Australia Some call me passionate – I suppose I am. What do I want? A safe place for our children here now and in the future. I want to hold high the intrinsic value of all human life in all states of dependency. I want to defend liberty of conscience, freedom of speech and I want to see ethical government. I want to see truth honoured and spoken. There’s more but that’ll do…

Letters to The West Australian and MLCs re Voluntary Assisted Dying

Assisted Dying (7/8/19 not published)

No-one need ever die in pain. There is a fundamental difference between medicating to ease distress, sometimes prolonging life as the patient settles, and medicating with intent to kill. With intent to kill one keeps medicating until death is achieved; with palliative care one medicates till relief of distress, which in the very terminal phase measured in hours might also hasten death. The latter is NOT euthanasia as there is no intent. Doctors must never, never be killers. We blur this principle to the cost of medicine.

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The Heart of Medicine (11/10/19 published)

To ease the way, but never to intentionally kill.

Intrinsic to the heart of Medicine is to cure sometimes, to comfort always, to ease the way, and with good medical care to relieve distress until the final breath.

Killing by doctors, or assisting in killing, is never to be seen as a solution.

Medicine would be the poorer. Society would be the poorer. And, yes, there are other consequences too should the bill currently before parliament pass into law but paling into insignificance in light of such a catastrophic shift in the heart of Medicine.

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Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill in WA (12/10/19 not published)

The Code of Medicine is to save life and not to kill. Palliative Care specialists know that no one need die in pain, yet pain is the constant chorus of those pushing for killing to be a solution.

Medically assisted killing is not necessary. As a society we must not break, we must not destroy this foundational Code of Medicine to ease the way, but never to kill.

Consequences of passing the bill include giving state approval for death as a valid option, that suicide is OK if things get too tough. This is not a message to give our children.

Further, as history has shown, assisted dying will be sought or expected to include the disabled, the suicidal teen with an abuse history, the marginalised, the bereaved elderly.

We must not go down a state approved pathway of permission or expectation of the vulnerable that they should agree to be killed for the sake of others or the state.

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The Purpose of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill (22/10/19 not published)

Premier Mark McGowan has urged the Upper House to pass the VAD bill without debating amendments that might impede the bill’s purpose – for doctors to purposefully terminate, or facilitate termination of, a person’s life. I’m glad he sees that as the main purpose and it is exactly on these grounds that the bill must be opposed.

The purpose of the bill involves turning doctors into killers against all ethical codes in the history of medicine. The Code of Medicine is to save life and not to kill. Medically, the bill is not necessary. We can relieve distress until the final breath. This Code is fundamental to good medicine and should never be broken by legislation.

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Palliative Care and hypocrisy (26/10/19 published)

It is suggested that doctors who ease the way until the final breath are in effect practising euthanasia and that, in opposing voluntary assisted dying, they are being hypocritical.

With good palliative care the patient may yet wake and communicate but with euthanasia the medication is repeated and if needed repeated again with larger dose until the intended death has occurred.

The former upholds the honour and integrity of medicine in line with all ethical codes in the history of medicine. There is no hypocrisy.

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Critical Difference (31/10/19 published)

Dr Richard Lugg (Letters, 30/10) fails to recognise the difference of purpose between medication for symptom relief until the final breath and the deliberate intentional giving of extra medication to achieve intended death.

The first is consequential to good medicine, the second is euthanasia and cannot ever be called good medicine. The difference is critical and has been recognised for millennia.

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Sabotaging Medicine (5/11/19 not published)

The Stop Sabotage of Bill headline on the letters page (5/11) highlights the critical difference: saving the bill from sabotage means sabotaging medicine instead. History has declared borders that must never be sabotaged and the essential purpose of this bill turns doctors into killers. Heed the words from the 1996 conference on the 50th anniversary of the Doctors Trial in Nuremberg: Medicine can be distorted by state; physicians must be above state-decreed strategies.

Lachlan Dunjey. Dianella

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