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Statement in Response to PM Quotation on Euthanasia

Statement from Sandy Macleod Medical Advisor to Hospice New Zealand in relation to the article in the Dominion Post this morning quoting the Prime Minister John Key about euthanasia already happening in our hospitals.

It appears the Prime Minister has confused the ceasing of curative treatments with ending a person’s life. In situations like this people are in fact dying from an advanced disease, not from the withdrawal of treatment.

The prolongation of treatments that are of no further benefit to a person can increase suffering and distress. Advances in medicine and hope for miracles have made making decisions at the end of life complex.

Experienced health professionals care deeply about their patients and are committed to their care. Decisions are taken very seriously to ensure that care at the end of life is well managed.

Palliative care provides comprehensive management of physical, psychological, spiritual and existential needs of a person facing a life limiting illness.

As sickness progresses towards death, the focus of care is on minimising suffering. To minimise suffering it is not necessary to kill the sufferer.

The Prime Minister’s statement is both misguided and incorrect. We would welcome the opportunity to meet with him to explain to him the role and scope of palliative care in New Zealand.


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