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INFORMATION FROM DWD QUEENSLAND
30 July 2019
HUNDREDS of Queenslanders in Hervey Bay, Bundaberg and Rockhampton voiced their support for Voluntary Assisted Dying at public hearings last week.
DWDQ President Jos Hall, Clem Jones Group chair David Muir and Clem Jones Group Communications Director Lindsay Marshall attended all hearings, with Ms Hall reporting a significant turnout.
“Hervey Bay yesterday was good,” Ms Hall said. “I would say 70 to 80 people were there.”
Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorensen welcomes the parliamentary committee at Hervey Bay, PHOTO: by David Muir, chair of the Clem Jones Trust
Bundaberg’s public hearing also experienced significant support for Voluntary Assisted Dying, with guests numbering around 150 and venue staff having to find extra seating.
“The room is absolutely packed,” Ms Hall said. “People are standing, and the hotel staff are running around bringing in extra chairs.”
The current round of public hearings concluded in Rockhampton, with more scheduled for August and September in Brisbane, Ipswich and the Gold Coast.
The public hearings are held by the Queensland Parliamentary Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee, which is currently investigating Voluntary Assisted Dying and other aged care and end-of-life care in Queensland.
Do you want to support Voluntary Assisted Dying? Register to attend a public hearing here.
Doctors Support Choice
The AMA has historically maintained a conservative position of opposing voluntary assisted dying law reforms.
Yet the AMA does not represent all medical practitioners in the nation.
That is not to discount the views of its members, but we must recognise the AMA is not the only voice of medical professionals on the issue of voluntary assisted dying.
Even a substantial portion of the AMA’s membership backs voluntary assisted dying. A 2016 survey of 4,000 of its members showed 39% supported doctors being involved in voluntary assisted dying, 50% opposed involvement, and 12% neither agreed nor disagreed.
Unlike the AMA, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners recognises that patient-centred decisions about end-of-life care may include palliative care and requests for voluntary assisted dying.
The RACGP does not take a position for or against the legalisation of voluntary assisted dying but recognises “that if assisted dying becomes a legal option, some patients will request it, and that such a request requires a respectful and compassionate response”.
The College’s position statement says: “The suffering experienced by dying patients may be great. In addition to pain and disability from the terminal illness, nausea, asthenia and medication side effects are common.
“Existential suffering as a product of hopelessness, indignity or loss of independence can result in a patient belief that meaningful life has ended in all but a biological sense. For some patients a sense of control over the manner and timing of death can bring comfort.”
My own organisation, Doctors for Assisted Dying Choice, is a national body of medical practitioners committed to providing the option of voluntary assisted dying to rational adults with intolerable suffering, for which there is no realistic chance of cure or relief, who wish to end their lives at a time of their choosing and in the presence of those whom they choose.
Dr Sid Finnigan MBBS, FRANZCO Queensland Convenor
Doctors For Assisted Dying Choice