‘Govt cowardly on euthanasia’? No – not yet.

Lecretia Seales lives on in a health inquiry into euthanasia that kicks off this week
Stuff co.nz 20th August 2016 
On Wednesday Vickers will be the first of 1800 people to speak to a parliamentary inquiry into euthanasia, instigated by a petition in the name of former Labour MP Maryan Street and the Voluntary Euthanasia Society.

The petition, which garnered 8795 signatures and cross-party support, came in the wake of Seales death.

It demanded the committee examine public opinion on the introduction of legislation “which would permit medically-assisted dying in the event of a terminal illness or an irreversible condition which makes life unbearable”.

More than 21,000 submissions later – the most ever received by any select committee – Vickers will pull up a seat at 8am in front of a panel of MPs to explain Lecretia’s story.

But Amanda Landers, a clinician consultant, researcher and chair of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Care has spent 10 years caring for those who are terminally ill and she sees it differently.

“In the last decade I’ve witnessed about 5000 deaths and what you hear from the media and public isn’t what you hear from most people at the end of their life, it’s almost in direct contrast.”

“The voice of the well are the people who say, my body my choice,” she says.

When people are in their final weeks and days it’s their family, pets and community they worry about – “they think less and less about themselves”.

Landers says people talk about palliative care not working for everybody – that’s a concept she says doesn’t actually make any sense.

“It’s not a medicine that can work or not work, it’s an approach … most of the time just being there with them is what they need.”

Seales was cared and comforted for in her final days but as to whether she would have made the choice to end her life, Vickers says it wasn’t an option on the table.

“That’s a hypothetical that I can’t answer because she didn’t get that choice.”
READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/83351363/Lecretia-Seales-lives-on-in-a-health-inquiry-into-euthanasia-that-kicks-off-this-week?cid=app-iPhone
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