Also known as Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia

Tag: terminal sedation

Genevieve McCool – a story of horrendous futile end-of-life suffering inflicted by doctors and a Catholic hospital, Canada

Ian Wood:  During my 10 years as spokesperson for our group I have read many horror stories of extreme futile suffering inflicted by doctors in a most callous way.  However this story of Genevieve McCool dying in a Canadian Catholic hospital must rank among the most horrendous!  It was just prior to the Canadian MAID (Medical Assistance in Dying) legislation.  Burning at the stake, as in the days of Giordano Bruno, burned to death for ‘heresy’ would have been far more humane!

The following is published with the authorisation of Theresa McCool.  Warning: A photo here is graphic and disturbing. Theresa is sharing this story in the hope that it will assist in the passing of VAD legislation in the other states and territories of Australia, and not just be limited to Victoria.

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Theresa McCool
Toronto, Ontario
Canada    22 June 2019

My name is Theresa McCool.  I live in Canada where MAID (Medical Assistance In Dying) is now legalised. It was not legalised when my Mom died in 2015.

I believe Voluntary Assisted Dying, as it is known in Australia, should be legalised in every country in the world. We are all individuals, we all lead our lives in different ways, we choose different partners, different career paths, choose to have children or not have children, become religious, choose not to be religious. So, when it comes to the point where we do not have any choice, when we can no longer have control over our lives due to the debilitating nature of a terminal illness or an incurable illness, when quality of life disappears and we are left with pain and suffering and a loss of quality of life, then we deserve to have the right to request for assistance to end that pain and suffering.

I share with you the story of my Mom and what happens when the country in which you live does not have legislation and what happens when you find yourself in a Catholic hospital where the hospital’s policies and procedures, based on religious faith, override your basic human rights, deny you the opportunity to end suffering and leave your loved ones and their families, forever traumatised by the circumstances of their suffering and their deaths.

Before my Mom became ill, I worked as a volunteer with VON (Victorian Order of Nurses) for ten years, visiting clients with terminal illnesses, clients who had had surgeries, were at the end of life, receiving Palliative Care, and whose families also needed bereavement support. Many of my “assignments” would last from three weeks to a year. Continue reading

Christians Supporting Choice for VAD in Australia interview with Canadian Atheist.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to be interviewed by journalist Scott Jacobsen of the Canadian Atheist. Scott posed a series of questions on my approach with Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Assisted Dying.

The full interview, with my answers to Scott’s questions, can be found here > https://www.canadianatheist.com/2019/01/wood-jacobsen/

I hope readers find the article of interest.

It is encouraging to Continue reading

Ian Wood responds to Archbishop Julian Porteous of Tasmania, and his interview – a Christian Alternative to Euthanasia

The Art of Dying – A Christian Alternative to Euthanasia. Archbishop Julian Porteus. His interview on Cradio, Tasmania. https://cradio.org.au/shows-and-audio/exclusive-to-cradio/q-a/art-dying-christian-alternative-euthanasia/#comment-152750

A Christian response to the Archbishop from Ian Wood.

I urge the Archbishop and his listeners on Cradio  to take the time to view two contrasting deaths, from the many I have on file.

The assisted death of John Shields in Canada. “At his own wake” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/25/world/canada/euthanasia-bill-john-shields-death.html

A fascinating depiction of how John, raised in a Catholic family, was ordained as a priest, but left the Church after being barred from preaching when he challenged the church opposition to birth control. Read about John’s life as a social worker, his diagnosis with terminal neuropathy and then his advocacy for Medical Assistance in Dying, and using that choice at the end.

John Shields says goodbye to friends and family at his own ‘Irish wake’

Please compare John’s death with that of Flora Lormier from Multiple Sclerosis.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/help-die-family-release-heartbreaking-9614060#ICID=sharebar_facebook

Flora became paralysed from the neck down as her MS progressed.  Her daughter Tracey Taylor posted these photos on a Facebook page and in media such as the Mirror, UK, in the hope it would alert MPs to the futile horrific suffering endured by some people as they die.

Warning: disturbing images….. Continue reading

‘I am convinced that physician-assisted dying can be, and is, practised responsibly’, Ann Jackson, Oregon USA

One of the best articles in support of choice in assisted dying that I have read. Ann Jackson comprehensively rebuts the arguments used by those opposing compassionate choice, using the knowledge from her long personal experience in Oregon, USA.  It is particularly relevant, as Ann initially voted against the Oregon Act, but now strongly supports it.

Ann’s letter appears in the Guernsey Post, UK, where Guernsey is considering a vote on assisted dying. My sincere thanks, Ann, for writing this. Ian Wood.

 ‘I am convinced that physician-assisted dying can be, and is, practised responsibly’, says Ann Jackson, Oregon USA

MY NAME is Ann Jackson. In June 2008, after 20 years, I retired as executive director and chief executive officer of the Oregon Hospice Association, during which time I was involved in the public debates around assisted dying. I remain involved now, as an independent consultant about end-of-life options.
It is my understanding that Oregon’s assisted dying law has become a matter of debate in Guernsey ahead of a vote in May on whether to legislate for assisted dying on your island. When I was made aware of a recent letter published in the Guernsey Press (9 April) entitled ‘Oregon assisted-suicide model too good to be true’ I felt compelled to offer my professional experiences and put right misleading claims made by the author, Tony Meadowcroft. I hope that this letter also addresses concerns of Catherine Hall (Open Lines, 13 April).

There are various reasons people may oppose assisted dying but I do believe that the debate, wherever it occurs, should be based on evidence and facts.

As chief executive of the OHA, Continue reading

Letter to Brad Hazzard, Minister for Health – Please have positive input into the NSW assisted dying draft legislation.

My email to our new NSW Minister for Health, sent 13.2.2017

Brad Hazzard
Minister for Health

Dear Mr Hazzard

Congratulations on your appointment as Health Minister for NSW.  It is encouraging that in the Daily Telegraph 6.2.2017 you are reported as recognising that more needs to be done for health matters in regional NSW.

You also stated that: “……often people depart this life in hospital…….”.  This is certainly true, as NSW Prof Ken Hillman has noted: “Up to 70% of people now die in acute hospitals, surrounded by well meaning strangers, inflicting all that medicine has to offer; often resulting in a painful, distressing and degrading end to their life.”

Research indicates that in fact 70 to 80% of terminal patients would prefer to die at home.  To enable this, adequately trained people are needed, plus the funding directed towards this service.  I imagine it could well be ‘cost effective’ compared with dying in an Intensive Care Unit or similar?  Ref: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-25/hundreds-access-program-of-end-of-life-care-at-home/6883162

Another issue relating to the terminally ill also attracts a similar level of 70 to 80% public support in NSW.  That of assisted dying choice for the terminally or hopelessly ill who are facing futile suffering.

A cross party group of NSW MPs is currently working on a draft Bill to enable this choice, and I respectfully urge you to please have positive input into this much needed legislation, with the aim of ensuring that the final draft is such that you as Minister for Health could publicly support and vote to pass it.  It does need to have a balance enabling access for the patients who wish to use it, and safeguards to protect from possible abuse.

There is now extensive data from other jurisdictions that proves this balance is possible.
– A wide ranging, in depth, Victorian Parliament Inquiry into End of Life Choices made Continue reading

VCAT rules in favour of Dr Rodney Syme

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.

http://www.dwdv.org.au/news/vcat-rules-in-favour-of-dr-rodney-syme

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.

Read the full report by clicking here

 

 

A thoughtful sermon from New Zealand in support of assisted dying.

Glynn Cardy, Minister at the Community of St Luke

Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand :: Remuera – Newmarket

Physician Assisted Dying

Colossians 3:12-15 Luke 5:25-34
Sun 28 June 2015

The debate about physician assisted dying has been given added impetus with the recent trial in the High Court regarding Lecretia Seales.  Those who are seeking a change in the law wish that no prosecution would follow if a terminally ill person had reached a clear, voluntary, settled, and informed decision to end their life and the assisting physician was motivated wholly by compassion.

There are a number of Christian denominations[i] that support passive euthanasia, namely the withdrawal or withholding of medical treatment for the terminally ill when warranted.  Passive euthanasia is legal in New Zealand.  Active and passive euthanasia though in a hospital setting are sometimes not as easily separated in practice as it is in theory.

While Christian leadership is generally opposed to physician assisted dying there are some important exceptions.  These include the renowned Roman Catholic theologian Hans Kung, the former Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu,[ii] and the former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey.  A UK poll (2015) showed 62% of religious adherents supported physician assisted dying.

Continue reading

Ian Wood – his followup letter to Kevin Andrews MP re the John Baylis Diary and Marshall Perron’s letter to Kevin Andrews MP

Hon Kevin Andrews MP                                               Posted 19.11.2015, on C4VE letterhead
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT
2600

Dear Mr Andrews

Marshall Perron, former Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, wrote to you recently about the diary of the tragic last weeks of John Baylis, who died from Motor Neurone Disease.

As Mr Perron so clearly and succinctly pointed out, the fact that John Baylis could not access the assisted death he so rationally requested, was due to your action in instigating the overturning of the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act.

What Mr Perron did not say, is that you do still have the opportunity to go some way in atoning for what a substantial majority of Christians believe was your regrettable lack of compassion for the terminally ill, as they die with suffering that even the best palliative care cannot relieve.

Eighteen years have now passed since Oregon State, USA enacted their Death With Dignity Act in 1997. Since then three other states enacted similar legislation – Washington State. Vermont and California. Montana and New Mexico also have the right by a court decision In Europe, The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg have had choice since 2002, in addition to Switzerland.

There is now a mass of data available, based on the experience in these countries.
Essentially, we can now state Continue reading

Dr Rodney Syme – the speech on dying the RACP refused to listen to!

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

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/comment/full-text-of-dr-rodney-symes-speech-on-the-right-to-physicianassisted-death-20150526-gh9vh0.html
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