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Euthanasia: Time For Some Honesty

Euthanasia: Time For Some Honesty

Medical and nursing professionals should be more forthcoming over the covert practice, among some, of assisting terminal patients to die earlier than they otherwise would, ACT New Zealand MP Gerry Eckhoff said today.

"I personally have heard of a case where a GP directed a nurse to administer `a little bit extra' morphine, which hastened the death of a patient suffering the end stages of a respiratory disease," Mr Eckhoff said.

"It would seem that it is acceptable for a GP to end a patient's suffering, but unacceptable for a suitably qualified family member - like Lesley Martin - to help a loved one.

"My wife, a hugely experienced nurse, was prepared to assist her own father - who was suffering from bone cancer - to die with dignity, had he requested such help. In a way, it was a blessing he died suddenly of pulmonary embolus, as the sad reality is that palliative care does not always ensure the terminally ill die devoid of pain.

"It is time health professionals and society in general were totally honest and open about helping the dying to end their suffering. It is a shame that the Euthanasia Bill did not make to Select Committee stage, so that New Zealanders could have their say," Mr Eckhoff said.

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