The Chronicle

ASSISTED DYING

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WHILE it is understand­able that stories such as that presented about Mr Schmidt’s father would cause distress (TC 26/8/21), modern medicine has a lot more to offer in terminal illness than killing the patient or providing assistance to commit suicide which is what “voluntary assisted dying” means in the context of this legislatio­n.

The “assistance” could occur months before natural death would take place, and merely to assert that most people will only access it in the few weeks before death (should they even be able to predict that) does not change the nature of the action.

Assessing voluntarin­ess is not as easy as it sounds, as many ill people naturally will rely upon others for advice and support.

When this state’s palliative care funding is so poor, and ordinarily cannot be accessed until a few months before it is estimated they will die, offering them 12 months in which to source their death does not look like an enviable “choice”.

Dying is not a solitary action, it occurs in the context of social relationsh­ips, even those of staff in nursing home who have become “family” to a lot of residents especially in lockdown situations.

This legislatio­n will permit a servant of the state (termed the “administra­ting doctor” in the legislatio­n) to come and deliver a lethal dose to someone in a hospital, hospice or nursing home with that institutio­n having no ability to prevent this action should this not accord with their philosophi­cal ethos. DR DONNA PURCELL, Toowoomba

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