Spare them the pain
FORMER WA Governor and respected QC Malcolm McCusker will draw on his own experience of watching friends die when he heads up a panel tasked with drawing up voluntary assisted dying law for the WA Parliament.
“I know of very few people who haven’t either directly through a relative or a friend or indirectly because they’ve heard of someone else whose friend had a very slow and painful death,” he told ABC Radio.
“A couple of my close friends died years ago. One of them suffered from motor neurone disease and it lingered. The pain was just enormous. I think most people are compassionate and compassion means you don’t want to cause unnecessary pain.”
HOW many months would a terminally ill patient have to live before they were eligible to seek help in dying under any proposed WA voluntary euthanasia legislation?
Would the threshold be less than six months or – as in Victoria, the first Australian state to legalise voluntary assisted dying – 12 months?
A time threshold will be one of the issues the Malcolm McCusker QC-led expert panel – appointed this week – will ponder as it sets about making recommendations for legislation to go before the WA Parliament.
“We haven’t as yet got to the point of saying well, within what period should a person be shown to have a probability or even a certainty of death,” Mr McCusker told ABC Radio.
“In some countries and some places it’s been put at six months; that is, if a person is inevitably going to die or almost certainly according to the views of some two, three or four doctors within six months, then this may be a threshold requirement to meet.
“But these are the kind of considerations we need to look at very closely.”
Malcolm McCusker with wife Tonya.