The assisted suicide inquiry begins

Lecretia Seales’ husband makes emotional appeal to MPs about voluntary euthanasia
NZ Herald 24 August 2016
Family First Comment: “The evidence shows that people who engage in palliative care early not only live better, they live longer. Do we want to be a country that cares, or not? For every person who is strong and capable who wants the choice, there are 100 people who will feel alone, lonely and a burden.”

The husband of Lecretia Seales has made an emotional appeal to MPs to reform the law on voluntary euthanasia – saying fear and religious opposition should not deny others a choice.

Matt Vickers has travelled from his new home in New York and presented to Parliament’s health committee this morning, in front of a large number of media and members of the public.

Dr Jack Havill, president of the society, encouraged committee members to visit overseas jurisdictions that had allowed assisted dying.

He said it was not right to confuse suicide and assisted dying, Havill said.
He directly asked National MP and committee chair Simon O’Connor to stop using the term assisted suicide.

Dr Amanda Landers, chair of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine, said the assertion that palliative care does not work made no sense to her.

“Palliative care is not a pill…it is an approach. It’s someone asking you what is important to you, how you want your life to be now and to the end.”

Landers, a palliative care doctor and specialist, said she had personally seen the fear in people’s eyes fade as they come to terms with impending death. That could happen after long chats with palliative care staff, Landers said.

She acknowledged that some people “die terribly”. Medicine does not always know how to change approach and allow a natural death, Landers said.

“It’s about acknowledging that death is normal…allowing nature to take its course…fear of the unknown is what people grapple with…people worry for their spouses, their children, their friends.

“The evidence shows that people who engage in palliative care early not only live better, they live longer.

“Do we want to be a country that cares, or not? For every person who is strong and capable who wants the choice, there are 100 people who will feel alone, lonely and a burden.”
READ MORE: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11699765
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