STOP PRESS: Dr Rodney Syme, Vice President of Dying With Dignity Victoria, will be making a significant announcement regarding his involvement in Steve Guest’s death, at the rally.
Steve Guest wanted the right to choose. So do 80% of Australians, but the law denies choice.
Steve Guest was a journalist and much loved son, brother and father. In 2005, he was himself in the media, suffering from oesophageal cancer. He couldn’t swallow, had to feed himself via injection into a tube to his stomach, and suffered serious pain. Before he died, he lost some half of his body weight, becoming extremely emaciated.
He made a public plea for the law to be changed so that those suffering terribly from disease, with no hope of recovery, would have the right to seek medical assistance to die peacefully on their own terms (more here…). Currently, Australians do not have this right.
Somehow, Steve managed to gain access to Nembutal, a powerful barbiturate used by vets but banned for human use. After seeking wide medical advice and consultation with his family, he took the drug and died peacefully in the presence of loved ones.
Unfortunately, Steve’s peaceful passing according to his own values and will is very much the exception to the rule, for those whom, despite the best modern palliative care available, still suffer terribly.
Eighty percent of Australians believe that the terminally and incurably ill with profound suffering should have the right to access medical assistance to die peacefully. Now is the time for legislative reform to give Victorians this right.
A number of prominent Victorians will address the rally, including several members of State Parliament. The rally is on the steps of Parliament House, Spring Street, 1pm – 2pm on Wednesday 20th June, 2007.