May 24, 2024

Palliative care specialist slates euthanasia

“throw-away society”

The Australian state of Tasmania is to debate euthanasia. The leader of
the Greens Party, Nick McKim, has tabled a bill which will be debated
in August or September. All parties have given their members a
conscience vote on the issue. Mr McKim believes that the bill will pass
the lower house, but foresees a battle in the upper house.

A local palliative care specialist, Dr Paul Dunne, spoke forcefully
against the bill. He says that the experience of dying is a valuable
one which families treasure. "It
is hard, but the value that I see regularly is that families that have
lost communication often gain communication again," Dr Dunne said. "It
is one of the remaining rituals that we have in
our society because that person lying in the bed is very powerful in
bringing families together."

Legalised euthanasia would result in a "throw-away society", he
claimed. "As a society we’re going to lose a hell of a lot of wisdom,
that ability to grieve properly and live properly… It is really
treating life like a commodity. That would be dangerous. There
are a number of people who feel they are a burden to their families and
there are some families that, for whatever reason, feel that a sick
person is a burden to them. So there will be an issue of pressure,
sometimes direct and sometimes subtle." ~ Mercury, May 26