An Aussie doctor is preparing to help a 70-year-old perform euthanasia 22



View Profile

An 80-year-old doctor practicing in Melbourne is preparing to help a terminally ill cancer patient end his own life.

Dr Rodney Syme could lose his medical licence and even face criminal charges, if he helps Bernard Erica commit euthanasia. Mr Erica is 70 years old, and suffering from tongue and lung cancer.

Dr Syme has been warned by the Medical Board of Australia not to give any end-of-life assistance to Mr Erica.

Depsite this, Dr Syme has promised to give Mr Erica the lethal and illegal drug Nembutal. Mr Erica can then inject this fatal drug, at a time of his own choosing.

“I will not desert Bernard, I will continue to support him in every way that I can. Just how that pans out remains to be seen”, Dr Syme told the ABC.

“I believed that providing him with my support and advice, and in particular, medication, would be the best palliative care that I could provide”.

Mr Erica is angry that the Medical Board of Australia has gotten involved.

“That man has gone out on a limb to help people who are in genuine pain and want to end their life peacefully and this has put him in a very difficult position”, he said.

Dr Syme has administered Nembutal to around 100 Australians throughout his medical practice, although he has never revealed how he acquires the drug.

Similarly, Dr Syme has never been charged by police. He describes himself as a “euthanasia advocate”. However, this quandary is perhaps his toughest yet.

Do you think terminally ill people have the right to choose a “dignified death” with euthanasia? Do you support Dr Syme, or do you think he is “playing God” to some degree?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. OF COURSE, people should be given the right to die peacefully and with dignity. I cannot believe that this is even an issue. This man should be given a medal, not prosecuted!

    1 REPLY
    • I absolutely am in favour of euthanasia if I were terminally ill I would want someone to help me
      I watched my husband pass away from cancer I did everything I could for him, he never suffered
      because I nursed and cared for him at home and gave him his morphine every time he asked for it.
      He never reached exceptance he hardly spoke to me for the last few weeks of his life but I did my best for him because I loved him. He would not have got such care in a hospital. Except for palliative care and I knew my husband didn’t want to go there, so I was a nurse, and I kept him home with me.
      I wish Dr Symes all the very best in his care of the terminally ill.

  2. Of course it is the only way to end your pain, you are going to die of the disese , so what difference does it make if you die one week or one month earlier. At least then you can plan to have your family with you, my sister in law did.She had a wonderful weekend with her children and grandchildren, we have some great photos.
    You are a wonderful caring doctor and person, Dr Syme I admire you so much, keep up the good work.

  3. What courage this doctor has – to suffer the slings and arrows of the medical and legal fraternities must be almost unbearable for him. Thank you from all of us who would like a dignified exit, at the right time.

  4. I’ve got bad health these days, and it won’t get any better, so I hope this wonderful , caring Doctor is around when things get very bad for me. It absolutely terrifies me to know that one day I could be in so much pain, and no one wants to help me.

    1 REPLY
    • Yes I agree with you Pauline. Scary thought…

  5. Euthanasia, should be legal…………….
    But at the moment, it is illegal.
    The doctor, should back off, still continue compassionately treating the patient..
    When someone is dying, in hospital 🏥
    The intravenous drugs, are gradually
    Increased, to the max………….. They are not left in pain….Nurses care for them 24 hrs per day. ❤
    If a person wants to end their own life, there are endless ways, without ruining a doctors brilliant career, Or good reputation.❤
    Sometimes, the sicker, the patients’ get, the more selfish they become……………………….
    I think, the idea of euthanasia……should be put to the vote…. With the consent, of 3 doctor s, 3 family 👪 members, in a family Meeting…. And only offered to persons, with advanced medical diseases. Nurse Gail.

    1 REPLY
    • I agree with most of your comments Gail, but it appears that the Mr Erica in this case in in severe pain, with no hope of a cure and is not in hospital where the morphine can be gradually increased. If it’s a choice between Nembutol and perhaps looking at hanging himself when he can stand it no longer, surely Nembutol is the preferable and more humane solution. Dr Syme is indeed compassionately treating the patient by following the course of action that he is taking. I’m sure Dr Syme understands that his actions may end his career, but it is his choice…….by the way, I admire nurses and their significant efforts under difficult circumstances, enormously…….thank you.

  6. I have never been able to understand, how animals can be ‘put down’ when aged ill or injured, yet a human being does not have the same consideration given to them under similar circumstances, why do they need to suffer unnecessarily for sometimes months when the end result is death. I know of one case where a woman had a stroke (major) and was fed intravenously, could not speak or converse in any way, she was virtually a body- without the capabilities to ask for help to die, this went on for years. It is so wrong & something needs to be done. Bless you Dr. Syme good luck!

  7. Dr Rodney Syme, helps terminally ill patients with advice and the means to make their own decisions when it’s time to for them to pass away with dignity. As he stated on ABC this morning, ‘The removal of the anxiety and sufferance of the extreme pain experienced by a terminally ill patient, gives that patient control of their destiny’. I am confident that, Dr Rodney Syme would not help a patient with such ultimate remedy if there was hope of a cure . He is probably like a God sent Angel that you pray for when you are faced with terminal illness and extreme pain every minute of your day.

  8. My Dad died an awful, painful death from Prostate Cancer. I can remember him saying “If I was a horse, they would have shot me before going through all this!” Cruel, insidious disease whereby all patients should be given the choice of euthanasia or slow, painful death!!

  9. Good on you Dr Syme. Mr Erica must be in absolute agony and he should have the right to end his life with dignity and not suffer like the law says.
    You csn euthanize an animal but humans must suffer with extreme pain an indignity thanks to interfering dogooders!

  10. This caring man needs to be praised, he has seen the suffering and only wants to let another human being leave this earth with dignity. I applaud him for his commitment to people suffering and in pain.

  11. Watched my Dad die a slow painful death for 4yrs with bowel cancer…he was 23kgs when he refused to allow a doctor to put a feeding shunt in his stomach. All the shunt would have done is prolong the inevitable increasingly undignified end. Euthanasia ha been going on for years in various hospitals..Dad chose a morphine injection referred to (at the time) as the Green Dart. He made the decision with a sound mind, and I still respect the people who made this possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *