Greens Candidate says jail for assisted suicide is wrong solution

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The Greens candidate for Noosa, Dr Jim McDonald, said that jailing people who have assisted people with serious illness to end their lives was a poor solution to a problem no-one wants to face. He was referring to the jail sentence today given to a Brisbane man for assisting a stroke victim to end his life.

Dr McDonald said that he was not going to comment on the case because he had no knowledge of the details.

“I believe that people who are living with a terminal illness should be able to make informed choices between palliative care and ending their life with dignity. There are many people in my electorate of Noosa who are not ready to make such a decision but who want to be able to do so when the time comes.

“I would support changing the law so that those choices could be made legally. Of course, there need to be protections against the abuse of such a system. Personal choice in health matters is one of the important principles for The Greens,” he said.

The Greens' policy states that patients possess the right to self-determination and independent decision making within the health system. 75 percent of respondents in an Australia Institute study released last year supported voluntary euthenasia1.

“Living Wills, the role of the power of attorney, and the question of whether a decision can be made when a person becomes incapable of making decisions for themselves are important matters of concern. People's wishes about treatment or resuscitation are too easily overridden by doctors or relatives at present.”

He said addressing the question of people who wished to end their lives but were not suffering a terminal illness was a much more difficult policy issue.

“Developing palliative care services in Noosa is as important as being able to choose to die with a terminal illness.

“There needs to be better support for people dying at home. With personal experience, I can't speak highly enough of those doctors who make themselves available when a person is dying at home and the community nurses do a wonderful and professional job in caring for the dying. But more thought needs to be given to back-up systems, especially concerning the availability of restricted drugs after hours.”

Dr Jim McDonald
Greens Candidate Noosa
18 February 2012
Greens Candidate says jail for assisted suicide is wrong solution

Related News: "Letter - Dying With Dignity - Election Opportunity"

 
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