There are many forces that differentiate us in the world: politics, religion, beliefs to name only a few. One thing that unites us is the desire to die with dignity. Asunción Alvarez, president of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies said, “Around the globe, many people fight to make a death with dignity possible for themselves and those they love. It is these people that we would like to put in the spotlight for World Right to Die Day 2022; the Champions, who through their support, activism, fighting, writing, willpower, vision and strength, are advocating to make right to die legislation possible all over the world.”
Rob Jonquière, Executive Director said, “The World of Champions tells the stories of the parents, siblings, activists, doctors, supporters and volunteers who are working to make dying with dignity possible from all the corners of the earth. It is a testimony of their struggle and the complexities they face in championing the right to die with dignity. In some areas, the map is empty, and while there are certainly Champions in each of these countries, their efforts are shrouded in silence without right to die societies to support their cause and tell their story. We hope that they will join us in time.”
It is truly humbling to find my name included in this 2022 list of Champions supporting Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation world wide. To be next to names from Australia such as Dr Rodney Syme, Shayne Higson, Mike Gaffney MP and my friend Tanya Battel……….
My sincere thanks go to all those who have mentored and encouraged me to lobby for compassionate end of life choice.
Ian Wood 2.11.2022
By clicking on the above link for a map of world champions, a short summary of each ‘champion’ can Continue reading
An outstanding group of experts gave us the facts in this Forum on voluntary assisted dying support. Essential viewing!
The emotional plea by Jan, wife of Tim Edwards, and their daughter, Jessica, who spoke at the meeting about the torturous death of Tim from mesothelioma certainly bought tears to my eyes! I just cannot understand why our MPs continue to ignore such futile suffering, especially those who profess to be Christian. Where is their compassion?
I had the privilege of meeting Tim not long before he died, and together we went to lobby our local MP, Jai Rowell.
Every MP who is against this choice, and all members of the ‘ACL” (Australian Christian Lobby) and the ‘HOPE no euthanasia’ group should watch the complete forum and become familiar with the truth behind the issue, and then perhaps understand why up to 85% of Australians support voluntary assisted dying.
Yes, it is excellent news from Victoria with the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill passing the upper house, with amendments, by 22 votes to 18. It now goes back to the lower house to see if they will vote to accept the amendments and pass the Bill, so just one more hurdle to cross there!
Sincere thanks to Dying With Dignity Victoria and the team, Andrew Denton and the Go Gentle Australia/Stop Victorians Suffering team for your unstinting efforts and to every MP who voted for compassionate choice.
Shame that we failed by one vote in our NSW upper house a week earlier.
Ian Wood on behalf of all the members Australia-wide of Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia group.
I am delighted with the news from DWDV (Dying with Dignity Victoria). Here is the item direct from their website. VCAT is the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Dr Rodney Syme is a person of great compassion and a doctor with true empathy for his patients. Post by Ian Wood.
DWDV Vice President, Dr Rodney Syme, cleared by VCAT
21 December, 2016
Dying With Dignity Victoria are delighted by the recent ruling in Dr Rodney Syme’s VCAT case, where he fought against a condition placed on his medical license by the Medical Board of Australia in relation to counselling that he was providing to a Victorian man.
From the final report:
“Dr Syme’s practise is limited to advising and assisting patients who are in the final stages of terminal illness and to whom a sense of control over their dying is important. His patients seek him out. He does not advertise for patients.
He therefore has contact only with those patients who self-identify as being part of a cohort for whom traditional palliative care options may not be acceptable. Having been contacted by them, he assists only those whom he is satisfied are in a sound state of mind and whose death from their disease is inevitable or whose disease has progressed to the extent that their lives have become intolerable to them.
It is widely accepted in palliative medicine that, consistent with this clause, doses of medicine may be given to patients to relieve their pain and suffering even though it is foreseeable and indeed inevitable that those doses will also have the effect of hastening the patient’s death. The use of morphine and sedatives for this purpose is widely accepted and meets the needs of many patients. However, not all patients wish to receive that form of palliative care because of the loss of dignity, control and comfort which can be associated with it.”
The final report on the case released by VCAT is an interesting read, frankly detailing the work that Dr Syme does in counselling people who are suffering from terminal or advanced incurable illnesses as they near the end of their lives.
In determining that Dr Syme’s practises and counselling are intended to relieve suffering and not primarily aimed at ending a person’s life, VCAT has ultimately found that Dr Syme’s practises are not a risk or a danger to the community. They cited his knowledge of palliative care, his extensive experience in counselling people who are irremediably suffering at the end of their lives and the professional manner in which he has conducted his counselling.
With new assisted dying Bills proposed for South Australia and Tasmania, the inquiry in Victoria and a cross party committee working on the issue in NSW, I am hoping there will be a breakthrough to give compassionate CHOICE in 2016.
Quebec Province in Canada in 2014, and California in USA in 2015 have shown Australia how it can be done in 2016!
Meanwhile if you would like to read more of the facts supporting CHOICE for assisted dying and/or voluntary euthanasia, please check out the following books Continue reading
Full text of Dr Rodney Syme’s speech on the right to physician-assisted death – as prepared for the RACP Conference – May 2015. “Quite long, but well worth reading,” says Ian Wood
Although I am nearly 80 years old and retired from surgery, I am still practising medicine. For over 25 years I have been counselling people about their end of life concerns. Those conversations are prolonged and open ended. At all times, I endeavour to help people to go as far with their lives as possible. From that experience I have learnt one invaluable lesson – my first self-evident truth – that giving people control over the end of their lives is one of the most valuable palliative tools we have at our disposal.
Today I am going to address the gap between the rhetoric and the reality of palliative care.
From humble beginnings, due to the compassion and energy of Cicely Saunders, palliative care has grown from a single London hospice to a world-wide specialty with strong government support. It is one of the most important developments in modern medicine. It aims to provide compassionate and holistic care for the terminally ill.
Examination of the at least 27 journals devoted to research into palliative care reveals an intuitively obvious conclusion – that ethical research in this area is fraught by a constantly moving target making accurate statistical analysis virtually impossible. Despite the subjective impression that most patients benefit from their hospice care, it has been exceedingly difficult to demonstrate any objective benefits for such care. Continue reading