Otago Daily Times

Supporters of euthanasia Bill neither lazy nor stupid

- Ann David Waikanae

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

Otaki

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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