Letters to The West Australian and MLCs re Voluntary Assisted Dying

Filed on 08 November 2019 in Food For Thought category. Print This Page

Doing the right thing sent 4/12/19

The Premier, Mark McGowan, urges politicians on all sides to “do the right thing” and give people the option of VAD. But he fails to support that which is “right”.

By listening to the experts – the combined voice of the Palliative Care Doctors.

By looking at consequences to the vulnerable in society.

By heeding medical codes enshrined in the history of medicine and just society.

By heeding 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.

No Confusion re Intention to Kill  (30/11/19 published as Bewared Confusion)

Moving away from the terminal hours of management of the dying where there can be deliberate obfuscation between good palliative care and euthanasia, there can be no confusion in the weeks or months before anticipated death.

Early in the terminal care pathway when a person is suffering and responsiveness is impaired in consequence, good palliative care can bring them out of this state to the point of sitting up and engaging in even animated conversation with the surprised onlookers. This is good medicine.

The euthanasia doctor on the other hand, the one tasked with the duty to ensure death, sees this as failure and will further medicate to make sure this does not happen again.

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.

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.

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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One Response to “Letters to The West Australian and MLCs re Voluntary Assisted Dying”

  1. David John Shearer 9 November 2019 at 10:08 pm Permalink

    These letters, published and unpublished,set out the fundamental flaw (and wrongfulness) in the concept behind VAD. Citizens, please listen to the profssionals ‘at the cutting edge’ – ‘at the coalface’ of practical care for those nearing end of their natural life