A Perth doctor says she’s willing to face murder charges in her fight to make assisted suicide legal across Australia.
Dr Alida Lancee was investigated and cleared by the Medical Board last month after she administered a lethal injection to a terminally ill patient.
The West reports the board decided the injection had not hastened the death of the patient, but now in a startling twist, Lancee claims the board investigated the wrong patient.
Lancee had previously described the woman she had helped in a book produced by euthanasia advocate Andrew Denton. The woman she described was an elderly patient with end-stage emphysema who had died five years earlier. However, Lancee says she never provided details about the patient to the Medical Board or police and that they looked into the wrong patient.
Despite facing possible murder charges if she is found to be in the wrong, Lancee now says she is considering identifying the real patient, with the family’s blessing, in a bid to shine a light on plight for euthanasia.
“I hastened this lady’s death . . . currently this is called murder,” she told The West.
“I am prepared to face a criminal charge to expose the problems with the current legal framework that doctors work under when they care for the dying. Fear of being seen to hasten a patient’s death causes doctors to underdose their dying patients and this in turn causes needless end-of-life suffering. This has to change.”
Euthanasia has been a topic of contention across the country in recent months after Perth professor David Goodall flew to Switzerland to end his life. Goodall, who was 104, shared his final journey with the public in the hopes it would drive debate and lead policy makers to make the end-of-life choice legal throughout Australia.
In his last words read out at his memorial, Goodall lamented the fact that he could not die peacefully in his home country and encouraged politicians to give Australians the right to end their lives on their own terms.
“I would have preferred to end my days in Australia, the country of my adoption,” he wrote.
“Unfortunately, the dominant forces in the medical profession have exerted every effort to thwart any attempt at independent actions by the elderly in ending their lives.
“Luckily, the medical profession in Switzerland have a more enlightened view, and so I am travelling there – a beautiful country but not my own.”
Victoria has voted to make euthanasia legal for some terminally ill patients from 2019, but other states and territories are yet to debate the issue.