Was the Medical Board right to gag controversial euthanasia advocate? 124

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Regardless of your personal beliefs, euthanasia is an emotive issue that continues to divide the country. And now it’s back in the headlines again.

Yesterday voluntary euthanasia advocate Doctor Philip Nitschke agreed not to encourage suicide and provide advice on suicide and euthanasia in exchange for a medical licence.

The ABC reports the undertaking was one of 25 conditions imposed by the Medical Board of Australia, and Dr Nitschke has been banned from talking about the conditions.

His new medical licence is also restricted to the Northern Territory.

The Medical Board said the measures would “restrict the scope of Dr Nitschke’s medical practice and put an end to his involvement in providing any advice or information to any patient or member of the public about how to commit suicide”.

The controversial euthanasia advocate was suspended in July of last year after supporting a Perth man’s decision to take his own life, despite the fact the man in question did not have a terminal disease.

His wife, Dr Fiona Stewart, is furious about the conditions, which she described as onerous.

“It kind of sounds the death of free speech in Australia,” she said.

“I think in some regards, it’s an example of a medical profession being totally unable to deal with the fact that people want information about when and how they’re going to die, and about the fact that the bulk of Australians actually believe that there should be a law introduced on voluntary euthanasia in the country.”

But a woman whose son ended his own life after buying an online guide to committing suicide said the Medical Board’s actions were overdue.

“I do feel some justice that somebody finally has said Philip Nitschke is out of control,” she said.

The development is only the latest of a number of run-ins Dr Nitschke has had with authorities and another chapter in the ongoing saga embroiling the euthanasia debate in Australia.

Despite polls showing a majority of Australians support making voluntary euthanasia legal for someone experiencing unrelievable and incurable suffering, both Labor and Coalition governments have refused to enact legislation.

In fact, multiple attempts to legalise voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide in recent years have all failed. Part of the underlying reason given is the difficulty of putting in place sufficient legislative protection to protect those who might feel pressured into opting for euthanasia.

Let’s talk: Was the Medical Board right to curtail Dr Nitschke’s actions after he supported someone’s decision to take their own life even though they weren’t terminally ill? Would you like to see progress on the issue of assisted death? 


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  1. It’s high time this stopped being an issue at all. If we are of sound mind and make the choice that we want to die so be it. To me this guy is one of life’s good guys and has helped many end their own suffering in an easy, peaceful and dignified manner.

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  2. Neilson Mandela spent years in exile. Have we not learnt anything? Some people are just amazing and Phillip Nitschke is one of those. Time to wake up.

  3. I am sick to death of our idiotic, inane politicians being unable to make a decision on any bloody thing. This is a right, not a law. If we have a pet that we let suffer we are penalised, we are fined. Why do we have gutless pollies, i will tell you why, we let them get away with whatever they like. They are accountable for nothing. Just in the short term Abbott was a complete goose and Mr Arty Farty look at me i am rich Turnbullshiter would have to be two of the biggest clowns out there. They need to be driven to work as they would never be able to find Parliament House otherwise. Whats the answer, i have no idea. I fear this country has gone too far to be ever great again. Turbbullshiter sends our Air Force jets to bomb Syria, he has no idea why, oh thats right Obama asked him to, Obama is a bloody Muslim, he is having these ” staged ” wars so the good people of the USA are kept occupied and cant see the 100’s of thousand’s of Muslims her is letting in the back door to the USA.. I read in this mornings paper that Muslim students will be allowed to walk out of assembly each morning when the National Anthem is played here in our bloody Australia, they say it controvenes their law. Well i tell you what all you people who come here, our country, our law. If you do not like it leave, i will help you pack. We were told to leave a better country for our kids and grandkids than was left for us. Well i have to tell you for the most part our parents were to busy working to worry about what kind of country they left for us. And whats the point anyway with the pollies letting in whoever, the way they are going its only a matter of time before Sharia Law is the only law in this country. Because i love my country and speak up for it i am labeled a racist, well so be bloody it, i will just have to accept it. So i have had my whinge some will say, well if that is how some see it there is not much i can do about that, you see, i care for my country.

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    • For the record, I agree with your points Noel. As for the euthanasia issue your point about gutless politicians is spot on. No-one wants to make the decision to run with it & put it to the agenda & vote to see what the public wants. Put it out to a referendum. Add ALL the issues on one referendum so the public can decide on I think the three main issues being discussed.
      * Same sex marriage
      * Euthanasia
      * The wording for the Kooris in our constitution for true equality (why the feck can’t they just change it without a referendum I am beyond understanding , whatever the restriction was as I can;t remember what needs to bechanged, it was added without a referendum so why is one needed now? Just make it the same as everyone else so we can all move on to a new great Australia),
      The politicians use their own personal beliefs to decide issues like this, they were voted in to make decisions for everyone not their own personal beliefs. Personally I think everyone should have the right to decide their own fate. Not the Churches, not the politicians, not the doctors. If people are suffering with cancer and want to die with dignity who are we to judge anyway. If it is the choice of the person then it should be honoured. I know there are many issues such as people suffering from debilitating depression as they want to end their pain which is just as important as any other suffering. I know people will jump on my head but maybe all issues should be considered. If they have counselling before they can be considered for euthanasia (I would hope they have to have targeted counselling for depression) then surely we have a right to our own end.
      On one hand they complain about over population then stop people who are suffering from ending their pain with dignity. In the Nursing Home where my mother is there are some elderly people who live their whole lives in a reclining wheelchair, they have to be fed as they can’t do it for themselves and it is ground up baby food essentially, they need someone to take them to the toilet & put them to bed at the end of the day. There is NO dignity for them. Now if they wanted to die with dignity why not? I dread it when I get old & have to live my life like them, I would rather have my family around me and say goodbye with dignity.

    • well said Kay ..and understand that Noel….think you were just getting it off your chest …so much is wrong in our once great country…

    • Love your responses, even though you did digress slightly. Lol.
      As for changing the Constitution, it states in the Constitution that it cannot be amended without a Referendum. Good thing too, otherwise these Politicians would be having a field day and changing it to what they wanted, not what the public wanted.

    • Don’t the pollies seem to be doing that anyway. Changing things is their goal. I never want to be in a position of being put in a nursing home. I would rather choose my own fate myself. Getting old is a bugger it happens to all of us. Just let us decide our own means of living or dying.

    • Noel Wilson, off the subject again, i really liked the bit about pollies being driven to work otherwise they would not find parliament house.

    • Who the hell are polls and bloody do good erstwhile have the right to tell me when I can die it’s my desicion and mine

  4. I have only one life and that is a very precious thing, but should I get terminally ill and in great pain, I want the right to be able to end that pain myself by forfeiting this one life I have

  5. Who do the pollies think they are stopping any of us from finding release from agony and horrid illness. This isn’t for them to decide. .it’s a personal decision. .and I believe our right. If we allowed or posts to suffer we would be fined and yet we have to watch our loved ones orourselves go through it..it’s a disgrace

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  6. Referendum please, euthenaisia and gay marriage. Not the right of politicians to make these decisions for us.

  7. If a person wants to take their life they will find a way no matter what

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    • I think often in the end stages of illness when they decide they want to they no longer have the resources to be able to find that way. They are often confined to a hospital bed or with reduced mobility. I know my mother with her bones breaking from cancer would have not had the resources at hand to end her life when she so wished to.

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