Stirling Times - - Opinion -

CON­CERNED about 'end of life choices', N. Matthews (Stir­ling Times, opin­ion, page 9, March 20) asked, “Do we want to pro­mote sui­cide as the best op­tion for re­liev­ing suf­fer­ing to our young men and women, boys and girls?”.

The ques­tion in­vites out­rage. “Surely not!”.

But this arises from mis­un­der­stand­ing the in­ten­tions of those who are seek­ing changes to WA law to al­low vol­un­tary as­sisted dy­ing.

Some peo­ple make 'end of life choices' when they smoke or drink heav­ily or take il­licit drugs reg­u­larly or drive at dangerously high speeds.

They're able to do so.

But some peo­ple who are near­ing the end of their life with some chronic de­bil­i­tat­ing dis­ease are not al­lowed to in­struct their doc­tor to help them to a quick and peace­ful death once they reach a point of se­vere suf­fer­ing and have lost their nor­mal ca­pac­ity to com­mu­ni­cate or per­haps their ca­pac­ity for ra­tio­nal think­ing and de­ci­sion mak­ing.

Sim­i­larly, some peo­ple with end stage ter­mi­nal ill­ness and ex­treme pain that can­not be re­li­ably mod­er­ated by pal­lia­tive care doc­tors are not al­lowed to de­ter­mine that their life will be gen­tly and re­spect­fully brought to a close af­ter fond farewells in the pres­ence of car­ing loved ones or friends.

These are emo­tional is­sues, but please let’s stick with ac­tual pro­pos­als rather than make knee jerk re­ac­tions against vague gen­er­al­i­sa­tions.

Let's har­ness our en­ergy to pro­mote many other ways of com­pas­sion­ately ad­dress­ing the var­i­ous kinds of suf­fer­ing that young peo­ple may be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing.


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