Otago Daily Times

Sup­port­ers of euthana­sia Bill nei­ther lazy nor stupid

- Ann David Waikanae Society · Dr. Watson · John Watson

RE­SPOND­ING to Sarah McGill (Opin­ion, 10.11.20), wherein she ad­vises that pro­mot­ing euthana­sia is dan­ger­ous, lazy and stupid.

How do you know me so well, Sarah? You have me on all three counts.

Let me start with lazy.

Since 2003, when Peter Brown’s death with dig­nity Bill was de­feated, I have been work­ing de­ter­minedly to­wards the in­tro­duc­tion of this Act, but most nights I went to bed for a rest.

In be­tween times, dur­ing these 17 years, I helped sup­port my daugh­ter, who died of breast can­cer in 2015.

My wife con­tracted uter­ine can­cer around this time, and hav­ing seen the or­deal my daugh­ter had gone through, tried to com­mit sui­cide. This meant four days in in­ten­sive care with the real dan­ger of her suf­fer­ing brain da­m­age, which would have com­pounded her ter­mi­nal di­ag­no­sis.

This at­tempt was made solely be­cause there wasn’t an EOLC Act in place, which would have al­layed her fears.

You may well call this lazy of me, con­sid­er­ing the nu­mer­ous let­ters I wrote to news­pa­pers dur­ing this pe­riod, but at no time did I ever con­fuse ‘‘pro­mot­ing euthana­sia’’ with ‘‘pro­mot­ing vol­un­tary euthana­sia’’. I may be lazy, but I tried to avoid sloppy/ lazy writ­ing.

Stupid? You have me once more. It was to­tally stupid of me to waste more man­hours than you could shake a stick at dur­ing those 17 years, when I could have been play­ing snooker, cards or get­ting into church and pray­ing for divine guid­ance.

Although I do ad­mit to stu­pid­ity, I still man­aged to know the dif­fer­ence be­tween 65.1% be­ing in favour of the EOLC Act as op­posed to the 62% you as­sert are in sup­port. I’m not that stupid.

Dan­ger­ous? How dan­ger­ous it was of me to try to pre­vent the si­t­u­a­tion that my mother­in­law found her­self in, when at the age of 97 she starved her­self to death af­ter four years of un­remit­ting pain and mis­ery in a ‘‘rest­home’’.

There was a marked ab­sence of ‘‘joy still to be found’’ dur­ing those four years. There were tears and more tears from my late wife, try­ing to cope with her mother’s si­t­u­a­tion.

The dan­ger here was that my wife had to be dis­suaded from taking the law into her own hands to re­lieve her mother’s dis­tress. But what is most dan­ger­ous is the op­po­si­tion to this Act by in­di­vid­u­als still try­ing to im­pose their will and opin­ions on oth­ers.

John Wat­son


IT is a good thing that Sarah McGill’s mother ex­pe­ri­enced a one­ina­mil­lion mir­a­cle.

She wouldn’t have been el­i­gi­ble for as­sisted dy­ing (Opin­ion, 10.11.20).

Firstly, she didn’t have a ter­mi­nal ill­ness.

Sec­ondly, she wasn’t ex­pe­ri­enc­ing un­bear­able suf­fer­ing with­out pos­si­bil­ity of re­lief.

Fi­nally, her ad­vanced de­men­tia would have made her in­el­i­gi­ble be­cause she would have been un­able to give in­formed con­sent.

Just in case I or mine don’t ex­pe­ri­ence that same one­ina­mil­lion mir­a­cle, I voted Yes to the End of Life Choice Act, along with 65% of the other ‘‘lazy, stupid’’ vot­ers in the na­tion.

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