Geriatrician warns of new risk to elderly Victorians

Associate professor and geriatrician Mark Yates has warned that elderly Victorians now face the additional burden of choosing to continue with life or to have it terminated. He warns that the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia in Victoria from 19 June 2019 now puts the elderly - 10 to 15 per cent of whom already experience abuse - at an additional risk of being coerced or persuaded to request or ingest a deadly poison under the new law.

Writing in the Age Dr Yates says:

As a geriatrician who cares for frail older people, I know many who perceive they are a burden to society or their family. I am saddened by the additional burden they must now carry. The burden of choosing to continue with life or to have it terminated. Sadly, knowing both the best and worst of human nature and that 10 to 15 per cent of elderly people experience abuse, I now also fear for the risks some will be exposed to as a result of this new legislation.

He explains that the alleged safeguards against coercion will be ineffective:

what happens in homes stays in homes and while coercion carries significant penalties in divided families, true coercion will be difficult to prove

Read more about the risks of Victoria's assisted suicide and euthanasia laws here


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