21 May 2019

Question of the day for Mon 20 May 2019

From The Panel, 4:34 pm on 21 May 2019

Do you support voluntary euthanasia in New Zealand? Why or why not? Our listeners tell us their thoughts.

Here are some of the tweets, emails, and texts we received:

* Yes, with safeguards. I know people who wanted it but were forced to live til the bitter end and I know people who want it when the time comes for them.

* A cautious yes with more funding for counselling those who are vulnerable, strong safe guards and stiff penalties to those who try and circumnavigate robust process.

* Natalie  - No. I was diagnosed with terminal cancer twelve years ago and given four to six weeks to live. If I had believed in euthanasia I would be dead now.

* Absolutely not! It's terrible for people with dementia and disabilities, putting them under pressure to put themselves out of other's misery.

* My sister died from cancer tied to a bed and screaming in agony in a Brisbane hospital in 2007. I was with her a month earlier when the pain management team told her they could keep her pain at a manageable level. They couldn’t. Her last words to me before she started screaming were begging me to get her more pain relief. She deserved a better death. Assisted dying would have provided that for her. Her awful, awful death haunts me more than a decade later. 

* No because it's a member bill by a libertarian MP whose intention is to cut healthcare cost

No. It complicates the doctor/patient relationship. Family relationships are complex and subtle pressure can be applied. I also worry about the impact on the wider acceptance of suicide. My intellectually/physically disabled sister has less ability than some of the "poster child" cases that have been highlighted in the media. She's never been able to complete cryptic crosswords, or tramp the hills. I worry about the affect on attitudes to disability.

* No, because the "choice" is often not made by friends and family, the ones left behind.

* Yes. Because I've seen the anguish of people who have degenerating conditions that cannot be successfully ameliorated by currently available treatments, and heard their arguments for access to end-of-life choice.

* Hi there! I keep hearing that people wanting this bill to go ahead, want a dignified death and unnecessary pain and suffering. A dignified death is having adequate access to palliative care nationwide. Good whanau support, spiritual physical and emotional support gives a dignified end. Let's focus on providing the best palliative care we can, with better access for all, rather than focusing on having the choice to die from lack of care. Why does it keep being reported that the only way of dying is to be suffering an awful death, it does not need to be this way, the elderly and people with disabilities should not think themselves a burden. They are vulnerable and this bill will open up a can of worms. Please listen to the palliative care sector, we are opposed to this bill - the act of euthanasia will fall onto us. Registered Nurse in a hospice.*