Dianne Cooper’s letter (Speak up now, Sept 26) reminded me that Sean Davison’s cancer-stricken mother was herself a doctor. She’d have known that it is perfectly legal to starve and dehydrate oneself to death in a hospital, rest home or hospice given the right circumstances (and she’d have met all the criteria) but I suppose, poor lady, that she wanted to die at home as most of us do. Professional care might have softened the terrors of death by self-starvation.
We all have rights under the Code of Health and Disability Consumers’ Rights to refuse services and/or to withdraw permission for services commenced (Right 7, Point 7). Please Google to confirm.
This includes the right to refuse food and water under nearterminal circumstances. Doctors won’t spell this out to you; they’re too afraid that some “conscientious objector” might leap upon them and accuse them of “murder” or some such thing. Better still, instead of that grim death, Sean Davison’s mother could have had a lucid, peaceful, even a beautiful death if she’d been a citizen of one of the growing number of countries that has legalised voluntary euthanasia. She’d have been in control.
Alas, she was a citizen of New Zealand. ANN DAVID WAIKANAE