Monthly Archives

August 2012

Key admits blunder over euthanasia comments

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ONE News 27 Aug 2012
Prime Minister John Key has backed away from his comments about euthanasia, saying his language on the sensitive issue was “a bit sloppy”.
Key last week said “there is a lot of euthanasia that effectively happens in our hospitals”.
The comment angered doctors who said euthanasia was never practised as it was the deliberate ending of life, and was illegal and unethical.
The suggestion could seriously damage the trust people had in hospital care of the terminally ill, doctors said.
Capital & Coast District Health Board head of palliative care Jonathan Adler said switching off a life support machine and allowing someone to die of natural causes was not euthanasia.
Key today said his comments were made on talk back radio. “It was in the context of a wider discussion about a scenario where I think I am saying the same thing as those doctors,” he told Radio Live. “They use specific and arguably accurate legal or medical definitions and I was using a bit of a general term.”
The Prime Minister said he was not suggesting doctors were doing anything illegal.
http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/key-admits-blunder-over-euthanasia-comments-5047150

PM's euthanasia claim sparks anger

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Stuff co.nz 24 August 2012
Angry doctors are appalled at Prime Minister John Key’s claims that euthanasia already happens in hospitals.
“We never practise euthanasia; euthanasia is the deliberate ending of life, and is illegal and unethical,” Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine chairwoman Sinead Donnelly said.
Mr Key’s comments could seriously damage the trust people had in hospital care of the seriously ill, the Wellington doctor said.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7538178/PMs-euthanasia-claim-sparks-anger
John Key stands by euthanasia comments
3 News 24 August 2012
Prime Minister John Key has sparked outrage among health care professionals with his comments that euthanasia effectively happens in New Zealand, despite being illegal.
The Society of Palliative Medicine says the claim is ‘completely false’ and fears it may make the public less trusting of hospital care.
Palliative medicine specialist Sinead Donnelly cares for 500 dying patients each year – she says her focus is helping them live the rest of their lives as well as possible, not helping them die.
http://www.3news.co.nz/John-Key-stands-by-euthanasia-comments/tabid/418/articleID/266624/Default.aspx
 

PM’s Euthanasia claim sparks anger

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Dominion Post 24 Aug 2012
Angry doctors are appalled at Prime Minister John Key’s claims that euthanasia already happens in hospitals.
“We never practise euthanasia; euthanasia is the deliberate ending of life, and is illegal and unethical,” Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine chairwoman Sinead Donnelly said.
Mr Key’s comments could seriously damage the trust people had in hospital care of the seriously ill, the Wellington doctor said.
Mr Key signalled his broad support for euthanasia – medical assistance to die – during a stint on Newstalk ZB this week.
“If I had terminal cancer, I had a few weeks to live, I was in tremendous amount of pain – if they just effectively wanted to turn off the switch and legalise that by legalising euthanasia, I’d want that.”
Hospice New Zealand clinical adviser Sandy Macleod said “euthanasia does not occur in our hospitals, full stop”.
Dr Macleod, a palliative care specialist at Christchurch Hospital, said Mr Key’s comments were misguided and incorrect.
“As sickness progresses towards death, the focus of care is on minimising suffering. To minimise suffering, it is not necessary to kill the sufferer.
“Often morphine is blamed for people dying, or sedation is blamed for people dying, but the reality is they die of their disease and neither of those medical treatments hastens their death.”
Capital & Coast District Health Board head of palliative care Jonathan Adler said there was a lack of understanding about end-of-life choices.
Switching off a life support machine and allowing someone to die of natural causes was not euthanasia, Dr Adler said.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/7538083/Euthanasia-claim-sparks-anger

Euthanasia already happening in hospitals – PM

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Dominion Post 23 Aug 2012
Prime Minister John Key says euthanasia already happens in our hospitals – and if he was terminally ill, he would consider it.
Doctors disagreed with him last night, saying his view of the situation was too simplistic.
Mr Key said yesterday that he could understand the argument that legalising euthanasia might put pressure on the elderly to end their lives early, in the face of “rapacious grandkids”, but “I don’t really buy that argument”. “I think there’s a lot of euthanasia that effectively happens in our hospitals,” he told Newstalk ZB. “. . . If I had terminal cancer, I had a few weeks to live, I was in tremendous amount of pain – if they just effectively wanted to turn off the switch and legalise that by legalising euthanasia, I’d want that.”
Ian Powell, director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, which represents senior doctors, said he did not think euthanasia was happening in hospitals the way Mr Key made it out to be. “The situation is much more complex than that . . . Sometimes continuing a treatment can prolong the agony for a patient, and not even keep the patient alive. “By not prolonging the agony . . . even though the intent is not for the patient to die, it is sometimes a consequence.”
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7530298/Euthanasia-already-happening-in-hospitals-PM

Maggie Barry: Euthanasia not the answer

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NZ Herald 16 Aug 2012
National Party MP Maggie Barry says the standard of healthcare for New Zealanders with terminal and chronic illnesses is so high euthanasia should not be considered as an alternative. Ms Barry’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Palliative Care will meet for the first time today and aims to improve MPs’ understanding of the care available.
Palliative care focuses on relieving the suffering of patients with chronic or life-threatening illnesses.
Ms Barry was partly inspired to form the group after witnessing the high-quality care her parents received before their deaths. Her father was diagnosed with cancer and stayed in Mary Potter Hospice until his death 15 years ago. “Mum and I were able to go up there and spend time with him. I had dreaded it but it was as good as it could have been.”
But her primary motivation is to oppose assisted suicide as an alternative for seriously ill patients. She said euthanasia was part of the discussion when she chaired a working party on “Care of people who are dying”, but she had concluded it was not a sensible option.
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10827268