Take that, Medical Board – Dr Nitschke does the unthinkable

Last month, euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke was allowed to continue practising medicine, but under strict conditions. Last night, he showed the

Last month, euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke was allowed to continue practising medicine, but under strict conditions. Last night, he showed the Medicatl Board of Australia what he thought of those conditions.

The controversial doctor gathered the press together in Darwin and burnt his medical certificate.

He said, “Today, and with considerable sadness, I announce the end of [my] medical career.”

“The conditions the board has sought to impose on me … amount to a heavy handed and clumsy attempt to restrict the free flow of information on end-of-life choice.”

Mr Nitschke was told he could continue practising medicine under the condition he no longer publicly endorsed or privately encouraged the suicide of any patients or anyone else he came into contact with, and only in the Northern Territory.

His licence was suspended in 2014 after he admitted supporting a 45-year-old man’s decision to take his own life, the ABC reports.

Before his stunt last night, Mr Nitschke asked more than 1000 members of his advocacy group Exit International for their support in killing his medical career.

“I was surprised that it was so overwhelming, the support for effectively chucking in [my] medical registration,” he said.

“People out there, our membership, were saying ‘we want the information’.”

Mr Nitschke has been working in Switzerland on the ‘Destiny’ machine, similar to the device featured in the movie Last Cab to Darwin. 

For a period of 11 months across 1995-6, the NT had the Rights of the Terminally Ill (ROTI) Act, which introduced voluntary euthanasia into Australia. Dr Nitschke helped four people end their lives while it was legal to do so.

The act was overturned in 1997 by strident euthanasia opponent Kevin Andrews.


What do you think of Philip Nitschke’s actions? Do you support assisted suicide here in Australia? 

  1. I wouldn’t like to suffer for years. Or put my family thru hell just because a Doctor would rather put me on permanent morphine till it gradually killed me.

    • Yep but to linger for weeks or months no thanks. Rather go straight away. I stayed in hospital with my father, took him 2 weeks to die. He wanted to go straight away but no one could help him to do it.

      • They keep you alive because they took an oath to save lives.
        However, some treatments are incredibly expensive and a complete waste on a very elderly person whose organs are shutting down or with terminal illness.
        Euthanasia will be allowed in time.
        Meanwhile people should know enough to end their own lives without involving relatives to help.

    • I stayed in his hospital room for the 2 weeks, talking to him, cuddling him, telling how much we loved him. He couldn’t talk but his eyes talked for him. Pain in those eyes. In the end I told him to go as his brother was waiting for him, about 10 mins he was gone. I didn’t realise he needed to be told to go,, but when I said that his mouth twitched and his eyes smiled at me and squeezed my hand. I was at peace too because he was in no more pain. Hardest damn thing I ever had to do, but I at least kept my promise to him.

    • Yes, but Aileen, their taking up hospital beds others need. If a person wants to go, who gave politicians control over our death. I didn,,’t. My body my life or death. I as an individual should have 100% control of what I want

      • Lynne Highfield  

        Jan, I totally and wholeheartedly agree with you! I simply cannot understand why someone else has the right to decide whether I should continue to suffer needless pain when my condition is terminal.

    • Majority of Doctor’s do help, but if found out can be charged. I had Dad’s Enduring Medical and Financial Power of Attorney. He had done this 5 years before he got sick. I told him I would honour his wishes., even tho I couldn’t stand the thought of him going. But that Enduring power of attorney over rides any one, the Doctor, other family members. Gave me full permission, because he knew he could trust me to honour his wishes. I have given my son the same trust, he’s got my Enduring power of Attorney

    • Aileen, it would appear you see the medical fraternity as having no compassion…..i am sad for your parents but saying doctors keep the terminally alive all for the sake of extra $$$ …… that is terrible

    • I agree with Aileen, some of the medical fraternity have no compassion. I have met some, and can’t understand why they trained if not to get rich.

  2. Do I support assisted suicide? That is a loaded question. In certain instances yes, in others no. For someone terminally ill and in pain then yes. If that is their wish it should be honoured. For a mentally ill person who feels suicidal, not necessarily. That person with appropriate treatment could go on to lead a happy and fruitful life. There would need to be a lot of checks and balances to ensure it was not abused by greedy adult children impatient for their inheritance. I don’t feel this is a simple yes or no answer as each case would need to be thoroughly examined. I feel there is a lot of work to be done before this could become legal.

    • Why do you have to support it? Unless it’s you in that situation what difference does it make to you?

    • Yes Debbie, a lot of work to be done, but politicians have closed their minds to this so it will be long time coming!

    • Neil, you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future so it’s nice to be able to have the choice.

    • Neil, equally, why would you not support it? If a person is terminal, in a lot of pain and there is no hope for a cure, and wants to be assisted, then that person should have that choice. There should be legal documents in place stating the wishes of the dying person.

  3. I feel Dr Nitschke has help so many patients ……….and Terminal and chronic patients who are suffering with Chronic issues…….and many other issues that goes with dying slowly……Also I feel if you know you have no cure? Your the one who should have your say………..And not the bloody Politicians or Medical Board) let a dying patient have the right to die with diginity…………….my thought only …. Unless you know some one very close to you you never understand their suffering…….My personal thought only.

    • Your personal thoughts Maria are probably the same as many other people. I agree we should have the choice on how to end our life, and die with dignity.

    • Totally agree with you Maria. Well said. As my mother who was a nurse used to say we should not have to whither away in pain. It should be our right to choose a peaceful way.

    • Margaret my brother in-law father was Dr Nitschke first patient to die in Darwin……..he had suffer for a few years until he wanted to die with diginity………Its hard knowing that you do know when your parent going to die ………..he suffer enough……..his family copped heaps after.

    • You all have the right to end your own life, whenever or however you choose, what you do not have the right to do is ask someone else to do this for you.

    • Lee you have the right mate…………BUT no one has said that another person have the right to do it for you on your behalf????………their would be a legal agreement made up which would be common sence. cheers

    • What??? You can do it yourself NOW. You do not have the right to expect anyone to do this for you??? Get my drift.

    • They have a panel in Holland where it is legal. It has to be proven you are terminal and that it is your choice. I can’t see why we can’t add a clause to our will stating our wants if our life degenerates to this point. That takes the decision out of everyone elses hands including the doctors. They are then free to assist you with your wishes. If it against your religious beliefs you don’t have to do it. I personally thank Dr Nitschke for all he has done and is doing for this cause.

    • Dr. Nitschke was simply helping terminal ill patients.(also remember patients wanted to have the last say) so stop blaming Dr. Nitschke give some credit were it due.

    • I am not blaming anyone, I really think that it is open to abuse in so many ways. I watched Dateline, the other night, I think it was in Belgium and a lady chose euthanasia because her daughter had died? The doctor gave her a dose of some liquid to end her life.

    • What can I say Lee looks like Belgium has it wrong…..so real we should never compare us with Belgium to Australia way of life…thank God. cheers

    • If that women wanted to end her life for that reason then that is HER choice and she should be supported in this.

  4. He’s entitled burn his medical qualifications if he wishes. I think it sad that a man whose career began as a lifesaver should end this way. Euthanasia may or may not be the answer for some. My concern is what if someone else makes the decision on my behalf for their own reasons? I’m not talking about family (though I’m sure there are families that would pull the plug early if they could benefit). I am more concerned about public servants or governments making decisions based on costs or statistics. I know, I know, could never happen, could it…

    • You are entitled to your own opinion, but the only problem is, you’re wrong!
      You haul out the ‘same old chestnut’ argument that somebody will pull the plug that you haven’t consented to!
      Total bullshit!!
      If the legislation was correctly worded and voted on, this would not occur!
      This is just like saying all Muslims could be followers of ISIS!

    • Rob Weaver you are wrong – he started out as an anti nuclear activist – medical career was very variable – Yes, he helped Bob Dent and three others but you would need to look a lot deeper into his character to find out what he is really like. I worked in the same hospital ……………. As for assisted suicide – it is really easy to do yourself – the problem comes when you no longer to have the physical capacity to do it and need some help. We need the euthanasia laws so that the assistance can be a part of hospital procedure and not the realm of entrepreneurs.

  5. We’re is our Choice of freedom to choose, animals are treated more humane than humans when it comes to suffering and death….

  6. I have so much respect for this man, how dare the B…….. politicians dare dictate, like everything else, they know nothing at all about !

  7. C. McCann  

    why do you try to inflame the debate by saying euthanasia?? it is ASSISTED voluntary euthanasia or voluntary euthanasia. ALWAYS voluntary

  8. Jo Carson  

    In my opinion Philip Nitschke was doing good work. So sad that the members of the Medical Board of Australia didn’t see it that way. I personally would like my life to end on my terms.
    My mother was adamant that she would never go into a nursing home. She always said that she would kill herself. Sadly, she developed Alzheimer’s/dementia. For the last 5 years, she has been languishing, bedridden, unable to toilet or feed herself, in a nursing home. All dignity and choice has been stripped away. If she knew, she would be horrified.

  9. Appears the medical board just like to see terminally ill people – with no chance of survival, in pain as do the ‘right to lifers’.

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