Watching my uncle die – and his mood swings – confirmed my opposition to euthanasia

By December 5, 2017 Recent News

Stuff 5 December 2017
Family First Comment: An excellent commentary..
“It’s the unintended consequences of allowing euthanasia that particularly perturb me, whereby shifting societal values would make seniors and the disabled increasingly feel like a financial and emotional burden, and obliged to seek termination.”
OPINION: At a time when Canterbury – and the wider nation – is rightly distressed about our shameful, unshakeable suicide epidemic and the clamour for effective mental health services, the notion of sanctioning assisted suicide seems crudely incongruous.
As the Medical Association (NZMA) points out, legalising euthanasia would saddle New Zealand with the grey area of “rational” suicides and “irrational” ones. The Care Alliance soberly warn that it would lead young people to think suicide was an acceptable response to suffering.
Act MP David Seymour is optimistic his End of Life Choices Bill will be read for the first time in Parliament this month. Like most Kiwis, I wrestle with the issue, its nuances and complexities, that no up or down referendum, nor casual opinion poll can befittingly do justice to.
It’s a profoundly vexing issue, but in all good conscience, the notion of legalisation leaves me cold.
Last year, Sir Geoffrey Palmer laudably crafted a proposed law-change with an extensive set of criteria to strictly govern assisted suicide for a person with “a grievous and incurable medical condition that caused intolerable suffering.”
The person would have to be at least 18 and capable of making decisions, their condition would have to be certified by two medical practitioners, a willing doctor would have to be available and the Family Court would certify whether the criteria had been met.
It’s hard to see how some of these hurdles could be surmounted, given the steadfast opposition of the NZMA to euthanasia. Would we have to form a Guild of Certified Death Doctors?
The NZMA chair, Dr. Stephen Child self-effacingly observes, “Doctors were not always right in forming a patient’s prognosis. 10-15 per cent of prognoses are deemed incorrect, during autopsies.”
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