Herald Sun (Aust) November 21, 2010
Associate Professor Nicholas Tonti-Filippini is dying and in pain, but says his opposition to legalised euthanasia remains unchanged. Here’s his letter to South Australian Premier Mike Rann:
Dear Mr Premier,
Re: Voluntary Euthanasia Bill 2010
I write this letter to you my own name only and not in the name of my institute, of any Government Committees in which I am involved, or of any organisation. I write because what happens in South Australia on this matter will affect all Australians, particularly those who, like me, meet the requirements of the Bill.
Relevant to this matter is the fact that I am dealing with my own terminal illness (combination of renal failure, advanced ischaemic heart disease and Rheumatoid auto-immune disease) and am dependant on haemodialysis and palliative care. I have undergone 15 angioplasty procedures and the placement of eight stents to attempt to recover some blood flow after the failure of coronary bypass surgery. The last such procedure was unsuccessful as the blocked artery could not be accessed. The Rheumatoid disease causes chronic pleuropericarditis. I mention these matters only to establish that I am no stranger to suffering and disability, and am well aware of the limitations of palliative care. It is particularly difficult to control chronic pain because the effectiveness of most forms of pain relief is of limited duration, given the development of therapeutic tolerance. I have reached the limits of what palliative care can offer.
I cannot speak for all people who suffer from illness and disability, but think I can speak more credibly about suffering, illness and disability than those people who advocate for euthanasia presenting an ideological view of suffering and disability. Facing illness and disability takes courage and we do not need those euthanasia advocates to tell us that we are so lacking dignity and have such a poor quality of life that our lives are not worth living.