Euthanasia is now legal in New Zealand. In this episode of “Family Matters”, Bob McCoskrie spoke to Professor David Kissane, an Australian cancer psychiatrist whose career has focused on the interface of mental illness with cancer and palliative care. He is the chair of Palliative Care Research at the University of Notre Dame Australia and the Cunningham Centre for Palliative Care Research at St Vincent’s Sydney, and the Department of Psychiatry, Monash University.
Dr David Kissane talks about the dangers of euthanasia – the way that suffering, undiagnosed depression, unrecognised family distress and communication breakdown creates vulnerability for those with an illness. Dr Kissane also explains the types of vulnerable patients and how a loss of sense of worth, meaning, hope or if you become ashamed can lead to losing the will to live and a desire to end your life. He also warns about the hidden nature of family coercion. Dr Kissane offers advice to medical professionals, and also to families facing this issue with relatives who are facing a terminal illness.