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Strongest arguments for permitting aid in dying in NZ

An article outlining what Prof Andrew Geddis, Faculty of Law, Otago University, sees as the strongest argument(s) for permitting aid in dying in NZ.

Why medics should support assisted dying

Matt Vickers, husband of Lecretia Seales, urges health professionals to make submissions to the Health Select Committee inquiry into physician-assisted dying.

Two Views Show Turmoil Surrounding Physician-Assisted Death

An article from Medscape Medical News by Marcia Frellick on 19 Jan 2016

The day I meet you in the emergency department will probably be one of the worst of your life

Ashleigh Witt is a doctor training to be a geriatrician at Western Health in Melbourne. This is her view on why everybody should know the dying wishes of their loved ones.

I’d never been able to talk to Mum about mortality. A death cafe changed that

Death cafes give strangers the opportunity to discuss the ultimate taboo, and helped Sofie Sandell have some difficult conversations with her own family.

Love at the end of life

Kathleen, my wife, died in my arms at dawn one day last December at home in Massachusetts. As I held her, one of the myriad thoughts which spun in my troubled mind was: “What if someone asks me how she died? Whether she went peacefully?”

Mill, Liberty & Euthanasia

Dr Simon Clarke argues that deciding when to die is a matter of individuality. Clarke is Associate Professor at the American University of Armenia. He is the author of Foundations of Freedom: Welfare-Based Arguments Against Paternalism (Routledge, 2012).

Right to die?

John Murray is a former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa, NZ former member of the National VES Committee.

Physician Assisted Dying (PAD)

This article has useful and interesting statistics on what the New Zealand public think about Physician-assisted dying (PAD). This was published Dec 2014 by an Auckland University group in a distinguished Palliative Care Journal USA. As you will see, the results show the high value respondents place on patient autonomy with regards to End-of-Life Choices, and 82% want legalisation of PAD.

"Live & let die"

Mercy killing has been legal in the Netherlands for 13 years. Rebecca Macfie talks to one of the staunchest advocates of the law.

Voluntary Euthanasia: An Unfamiliar Pilgrimage by Sande Ramage

On 22 March, Sande spoke to a general meeting of 65 about her experience of death and dying from her experience as a Hospital Chaplain.

End of life decision making by New Zealand general practitioners: a national survey. Kay Mitchell, Glyn Owens. Journal of the NZ Medical Association 18 June 2004, Vol 117 No 1196

An anonymous questionnaire was sent General Practitioners investigating the last death attended in the previous 12 months. Prior medical decisions (693 patients) made included withdrawing/withholding treatment or increasing pain relief with (a) probability that death would be hastened (428 patients) or (b) partly or explicitly to hasten death (226 patients). Moreover, death was caused by a drug supplied or administered by the GP or nurses in 39 patients, where the actions were consistent with physician assisted death. This shows that illegal practice is occurring in NZ in spite of the penalties.

Two decades of research on euthanasia from the Netherlands . What have we learnt and what questions remain? Judith Rietjens, Paul J van der Maas et al. Journal of Bioethics 2009 September; 6(3): 271 -283

Trends in end-life practices before and after the enactment of the euthanasia law in the Netherlands from 1990 to 2010: a repeated cross-sectional survey. Bregje Onwuteaka- Phillipsen, Arianne Brinkman-Stoppelenburg et al. Lancet July 11, 2012

Both of these articles trace the Dutch experience alluding to the history and experience of number of cases, types of cases and reporting experience. Clearly there has been no ‘slippery slope’. The numbers availing themselves of VE have been 2001 (2.6%), 1995 (2.4%), 2005 (1.7%), and in 2010 2.8%). The percentages refer to the rate compared with all deaths i.e the 2010 figures are 475 deaths compared with 6861 deaths in total. In 2010 77% of cases were reported to the review committee. Reasons for non reporting are discussed.

End of Life decision making. The Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel November 2011

This is a large thorough review of the subject particularly as it reflects the situation in

Canada (which is similar to NZ). It reviews end-of life care in Canada, looks at the legal landscape (similar to NZ), reviews the ethics of end-of life care, reviews international experience with laws of assisted dying, and makes proposals for reform. For anybody wanting a one-stop review of the world experience and the literature, this is an excellent document  (108 pages)

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