The West Australian 1 September 2014
WA palliative care specialists are urging Federal MPs to reject the legalisation of euthanasia, warning doctors do not want to be put in the position of having to end patients’ lives.
They have told a parliamentary inquiry looking at the proposed introduction of national right-to-die laws that rather than deliberately ending life, more should be done on improving care for the terminally ill.
Perth Federal Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan and Greens Victorian senator Richard Di Natale are spearheading a push for national euthanasia laws.
Under Senator Di Natale’s “dying with dignity” private member’s Bill, three doctors would need to give their approval before a terminally ill patient could undergo euthanasia. Euthanasia would be limited to adults and Australian residents.
But members of the WA Palliative Medicine Specialists Group, which includes doctors from the State’s major hospitals, worry that legalising euthanasia would change society’s attitude to matters of life and death.
Doug Bridge, former head of Royal Perth Hospital’s palliative care service, said it was “abhorrent” to put doctors in the position of having to end a patient’s life.