Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Euthanasia Report Warns of Elder Abuse & Coercion

Euthanasia Report Warns of Elder Abuse & Coercion


A report on the history of the euthanasia debate in New Zealand and an examination of the law and the research evidence overseas warns of the potential for even greater levels of elder abuse if euthanasia were to be decriminalised in NZ.

The Report “Killing Me Softly – Should Euthanasia Be Legalised?” by Professor Rex Ahdar of Otago University says that safeguards can only go so far, that coercion is subtle, and that patients will ask themselves why they are notavailing themselves of it. He warns that the potential for abuse and flouting of procedural safeguards is also a strong argument against legalisation.

The report was commissioned by family group Family First NZ in response to another promised attempt to change the law by Labour MP Maryan Street after the upcoming general election.

The report warns that in practice, safeguards can only go so far, and that coercion is subtle. The everyday reality is that terminally ill persons and those afflicted with non-terminal but irreversible and unbearable physical or mental conditions are vulnerable to self-imposed pressure. They will come to feel euthanasia would be “the right thing to do”, they have “had a good innings”, and they do not want to be a “burden” to their nearest and dearest. Simply offering the possibility of euthanasia or doctor-assisted suicide shifts the burden of proof, so that patients must ask themselves why they are not availing themselves of it.

A recent study found that 32 percent of all assisted deaths in the Flemish region of Belgium were done without the patient’s explicit request. The requirement to report euthanasia has not been fully complied with in nations that have legalised euthanasia either.

There is some empirical evidence too from these same nations that the availability and application of euthanasia expands to situations initially ruled out as beyond the pale. For example, euthanasia has been extended to enable minors to avail themselves of it with parental consent in the Netherlands and, most recently, Belgium. Labour MP Maryan Street has been reported as saying “Application for children with terminal illness was a bridge too far in my view at this time. That might be something that may happen in the future, but not now.

The report also notes that the majority of the medical profession and national medical associations around the world have been resolutely against the introduction of voluntary euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, amidst real concerns that the role of the doctor would be irrevocably changed from healer to, at times, killer; from caring professional who saves lives to one who takes them. Inevitably, patient trust would be eroded.

The report concludes that any decriminalisation of euthanasia will introduce the era of “therapeutic killing”.

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT https://www.familyfirst.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Killing-Me-Softly-Report.pdf
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY https://www.familyfirst.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Killing-Me-Softly-Executive-Summary.pdf

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Arming Police: Frontline Police To Routinely Carry Tasers

"In making the decision, the Police executive has considered almost five years worth of 'use of force' data… It consistently shows that the Taser is one of the least injury-causing tactical options available when compared with other options, with a subject injury rate of just over one per cent for all deployments." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On D-Day For Dairy At The TPP

While New Zealand may feel flattered at being called “the Saudi Arabia of milk” it would be more accurate to regard us as the suicide bombers of free trade. More>>

ALSO:

Leaked Letter: Severe Restrictions on State Owned Enterprises

Even an SOE that exists to fulfil a public function neglected by the market or which is a natural monopoly would nevertheless be forced to act "on the basis of commercial considerations" and would be prohibited from discriminating in favour of local businesses in purchases and sales. Foreign companies would be given standing to sue SOEs in domestic courts for perceived departures from the strictures of the TPP... More>>

ALSO:

"Gutted" Safety Bill: Time To Listen To Workplace Victims’ Families

Labour has listened to the families of whose loved ones have been killed at work and calls on other political parties to back its proposals to make workplaces safer and prevent unnecessary deaths on the job. More>>

ALSO:

Regulators: Govt To ‘Crowd-Source’ Regulatory Advice

A wide-ranging set of reforms is to be implemented to shake up the way New Zealand government agencies develop, write and implement regulations. More>>

ALSO:

Board Appointments: Some Minister Appoint Less The 3 In 10 Women

“It’s 2015 not 1915: Ministers who appoint less than 3 in 10 women to their boards must do better, they have no excuse but to do better,” said Dr Blue. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The 1990s Retro Proposals For Our Health System

As we learned yesterday, the reviews propose that the democratically elected representation on DHBs should be reduced, such that community wishes will be able to be over-ridden by political appointees. In today’s revelations, the reviews also propose a return to the destructive competitive health model of the 1990s. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news