web analytics

The euthanasia debate

Written By: - Date published: 3:15 pm, July 21st, 2010 - 21 comments
Categories: death with dignity, Social issues - Tags: ,

I dread debates on topics such as abortion and euthanasia. They tend to come down to deeply held personal beliefs that can never be changed. None the less, Doctor John Pollock has very publicly raised the topic of euthanasia, and I think that it’s an issue that we do need to move forward on as a country, so here we go. The Herald reports:

Dying GP’s plea for euthanasia

A terminally-ill Auckland doctor writes to New Zealand Doctor magazine arguing for the legalisation of euthanasia in New Zealand.

Over the years our vet has put down several of our ailing, elderly pets, the latest a week ago. A contented, serene animal, surrounded by the people who have loved it for years, passed from life to death in a peaceful, painless minute. I have metastatic melanoma – how I wish that service was available to me.

If I was a citizen of Holland or Belgium or a couple of American states it would be. In NZ a doctor who performed such a merciful service would risk prison. The law insists we must provide only ameliorative help while patients may reach the most appallingly wretched states, sometimes akin to those who died of starvation in Nazi concentration camps. Ironically if we allowed a cat or a dog or a horse to reach such a condition we would be breaking the law and risking a prison sentence. …

My cancer may kill me in a variety of ways, some very unpleasant and drawn-out. There are several scenarios which I would find intolerable and should be able to opt out of but for our old-fashioned, ill-thought-out, cruel laws which force me to suffer to the end or kill myself.

There is no doubt voluntary euthanasia will come to NZ but it needs some determined lobbying for it to be sooner rather than later. I know of no recent NZ surveys but a couple done in Britain and USA suggest about 75 per cent of the population would approve.

There are a number of prevalent arguments against it – none, in my view, reason to withhold what should, and will be, a basic human right …

If you agree I would urge you to write to your local MP and to the NZMA. Both will need a lot of pushing to act.

John Pollock MB,
ChB, MRCP[UK],
FRNZCGP

Thank you Doctor Pollock for this courageous and well considered contribution to the euthanasia debate. The full letter is long, and thoughtful, and it deals with the arguments against euthanasia – you should go read the whole thing at The Herald or at New Zealand Doctor linked above. See also the NZ Voluntary Euthanasia Society.

Like many readers here, perhaps, I have personal experiences and risk factors which shape my opinions on euthanasia, but even without those I think that the objective and rational position is clear. I think that as a country our current legal position on euthanasia is wrong. Let’s move the debate forward, and let’s give we the people back the right to make the ultimate personal decision for ourselves.

21 comments on “The euthanasia debate ”

  1. wyndham 1

    The link to N. Z. Doctor produces a MALWARE warning on my P.C. Have the anti-euthanasia brigade been at work ?

    Should you pass this on ?

    • r0b 1.1

      You’d be in the best position to do that wyndham, you could send details of your anti-virus product and the exact message it produces.

      • wyndham 1.1.1

        Sorry, I’m not that well up in all this hi-tech stuff but the message I get from Avira Antivirus Personal is:

        Contains suspicious code HEUR / HTML Malware

        and, yes I’m still getting it along with the warning bells. !

        Hope this helps.

    • BLiP 1.2

      I’m running a paid-for and recently updated AVG – no alarm bells for me.

  2. kriswgtn 2

    Having watched my mom die of cancer in 2006 and suffer in her last months in a horrible way,she just wanted to go and I agree with her

    The hospice did their best re pain relief but still

    Noone should have to watch a loved one go through what my family witnessed and its time to grow up re this issue and let people have the choice.

  3. prism 3

    There are people actively thinking about their time of dying in New Zealand right now. There are groups – I think the Euthanasia Society, then is it Death with Dignity and Exit International.

    There has already been a bill before parliament but we see time and time again the weak nature of the parliamentary process when the pollies have to think and especially if it is a conscience vote. That is likely to mean that they will vote for their personal prejudices. I don’t know when they will be ready to take such adult, responsible decisions. Last time one MP made a personal plea with real personal experience prompting him, but emotion and conservatism won and he lost.

    Bumbling through is the best we can hope for. The recent post about abortion criticises the way we pass patchy legislation for important personal matters. We have to keep trying on it all and on abortion that chap Steve Chadwick is giving it a go.

    • BLiP 3.1

      that chap Steve Chadwick is giving it a go.

      Here you go , she’s only be in Parliament for more than 10 years, including time as Minister of Conservation and Minister of Womans Affairs. Still, I guess if those things don’t really matter, why learn basic facts about the person in charge.

      I do hope you weren’t trying to be funny. My sense of humour in regard to the sexuality of Labour Party members dried up thanks to the Right a few years ago.

      • prism 3.1.1

        blip – These girls that like to hide their female lights under bushels of boy’s names bring about confusion.

  4. Sylvia 4

    With all due respect to Dr Pollock, if he does not want to continue to live I would have thought he would have the ability to end his own life and not need assistance. Its not clear to me why he needs to have someone else cause or hasten his death.

    • r0b 4.1

      It’s not always possible to predict in advance when you’re going to lose that ability. Why should someone not be able to request help with ending their life?

  5. Yes – we should have the right to say that we are at the end of our tether if we are suffering an intolerable and painful end and ask for help to leave this world with what is left of my dignity.

    Yes – we should be able to do this with or without help from the medical profession.

    Yes – we should be able to do this without knowing that what we are doing is illegal and someone who is left behind could be set before the courts and convicted of murder (at worst) and manslaughter (at best).

    I would hope that our politicians can stand up and be counted on this one. It is not a difficult decision, nor is it a difficult piece of legislation to make.

    I agree that we should be free to choose when the end is to be. Our illness is terminal but we should not have to suffer any longer than needs be. Euthanasia is a beautiful way to end a good life.

  6. f_t 6

    Yes someone should be able to request help with ending their life.

    But I think that we need to tread very careful with this.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1285423/Half-Belgiums-euthanasia-nurses-admit-killing-consent.html

    • Sarge 6.1

      Good article. Espically liked this quote:

      “Last night, Dr Peter Saunders, director of the Care Not Killing campaign in Britain, said: ‘We should take a warning from this that wherever you draw the line, people will go up to it and beyond it.’
      ‘Once you have legalised voluntary euthanasia, involuntary euthanasia will inevitably follow,’ he added. ”

      There’s nothing to prevent the right to die, from becoming the obligation to die. Will denying the right to a peaceful end diminish the quality of life for some people?? Yes, yes it will. However, that’s a price to pay to prevent those marginlised in our society from being expected to die when they become “too much of a burden”.

  7. Olwyn 7

    I am going to go against the tide here. We have about 18,000 abortions a year in this country, even with the constraints we already have in place, and I am game to bet that the decision behind many of them is taken reluctantly, haunted by grief, and driven by a sense of economic necessity – have another child, lose income and lose the house, or have an abortion, keep the income and keep the house, and similar scenarios. Euthanasia is yet another example of something that could quickly end up gaining traction on the hidden grounds of economic necessity. If we actually care about anyone’s freedom to choose anything, the first base is freedom from economic necessity, because without it, so-called freedoms readily become subtly enforced oppressions.

  8. NZer 8

    I would fear voluntary euthanasia in the society we live in now. I do believe it wouldn’t be long before people were expected to end their lives once they showed signs of becoming frail and a burden. I’m sure euthanasia already takes place in the shadows – let it stay there.

    I am suspicious as to why the Herald has chosen to pick this story up. Are their corporate masters getting annoyed with the cost of healthcare to the very sick and old ? After all, if you can encourage people to kill themselves then you save the state a whole lot of trouble and expense. Fewer expenses to the state= lower taxes and more money for the greedies who rule the planet.

    And as for the doctor who wrote the article- I didn’t hear anything from him on this subject during his long career as a doctor so presumably he thought the care he provided to the dying was adequate. And anyway, he and people like him have nothing to fear from the legalisation of euthanasia. They have money and influence and will get good medical care for as long as they need/want it. It is the ordinary person who lacks any sort of power I worry about.

  9. Majestic Oil 9

    ” Warning after a report by the Patients Association estimated that up to one million patients had been peremptorily snuffed under the new NHS Euthenasia scheme.

    The scheme, called the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) was reportedly designed to snuff swathes of hospitalised under the guise of reducing patient suffering in their mortal final hours, but secret documents leaked by whistleblowers at the Depatment for Ill-Health prove the overall intention was “Snuff the oldies and save a few bob so we can cut NHS staffing and afford to invade Iran.’

    You guys just don’t know or think that even you or your loved ones could be in the position where your/their life could be taken [involuntarily] when you lie in a hospital bed.There is no reason for this policy -save to justify murder.

    • Pascal's bookie 9.1

      Looks like an impeccable source.

      From their front page :

      ORLANDO, Florida (GlossyNews) — Wearied by weeks of fighting the horrendous Gulf oil spill, the U.S. Coast Guard mobilized today to battle a large leak from a giant whale in a SeaWorld theme park. “This is massive,’ said Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen. “An animal this size naturally produces a very big leak.’ As of this morning …

  10. Majestic Oil 10

    This X dr emotively[while manipulating fear of pain, suffering and death] asks for something from NZ to be made available -then he acknowledges it is already available and is being done in NZ.

    Why is dignity thought of as ‘not expressing or feeling suffering/pain’ ?
    Is it some sort of stupid Kiwi -Macho -Fear of looking’ non stanch’/ frightened when dying?

  11. Pascal's wager 11

    @r0b [sic]*

    You never fail to get it wrong do you!(remember the time you expressed ETS was so more than just a polluter subsidy and that you feel Carbon trading will save the World).

    What you said had nothing to do with the issue :AKA The proposal of legalizing Euthanasia in NZ to Cut Costs.
    You do not even have an understanding of the NZ medical system.
    Moral and ethical whistleblower’s in the medical system are the tradesmen taking photos of rest home abuse( employees get punished ) and yet still you think to help this problem of terminally ill and disabled patient’s rights abuse ….legalizing euthanasia is a good idea.

    *And now I understand why Kate is a Cactus.

  12. WOOF 12

    They would do it for me, they should do it for him. 🙂

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Project protects jobs and nature
    A Waitomo-based Jobs for Nature project will keep up to ten people employed in the village as the tourism sector recovers post Covid-19 Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “This $500,000 project will save ten local jobs by deploying workers from Discover Waitomo into nature-based jobs. They will be undertaking local ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes three diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today announced three diplomatic appointments: Alana Hudson as Ambassador to Poland John Riley as Consul-General to Hong Kong Stephen Wong as Consul-General to Shanghai   Poland “New Zealand’s relationship with Poland is built on enduring personal, economic and historical connections. Poland is also an important ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Major redevelopment of Wainuiomata High School underway
    Work begins today at Wainuiomata High School to ensure buildings and teaching spaces are fit for purpose, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. The Minister joined principal Janette Melrose and board chair Lynda Koia to kick off demolition for the project, which is worth close to $40 million, as the site ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • New expert group appointed to advise Government on Oranga Tamariki
    A skilled and experienced group of people have been named as the newly established Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board by Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis today. The Board will provide independent advice and assurance to the Minister for Children across three key areas of Oranga Tamariki: relationships with families, whānau, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • COVID-19 vaccine slated for possible approval next week
    The green light for New Zealand’s first COVID-19 vaccine could be granted in just over a week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today. “We’re making swift progress towards vaccinating New Zealanders against the virus, but we’re also absolutely committed to ensuring the vaccines are safe and effective,” Jacinda Ardern said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New ACC Board members announced.
    The Minister for ACC is pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to join the Board of ACC on 1 February 2021. “All three bring diverse skills and experience to provide strong governance oversight to lead the direction of ACC” said Hon Carmel Sepuloni. Bella Takiari-Brame from Hamilton ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Economic boost for Southland marae
    The Government is investing $9 million to upgrade a significant community facility in Invercargill, creating economic stimulus and jobs, Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson and Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene have announced.  The grant for Waihōpai Rūnaka Inc to make improvements to Murihiku Marae comes from the $3 billion set ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature projects target iconic ecosystems
    Upscaling work already underway to restore two iconic ecosystems will deliver jobs and a lasting legacy, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.  “The Jobs for Nature programme provides $1.25 billion over four years to offer employment opportunities for people whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 recession. “Two new projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago