More questions than answers: Latest Victorian report
The latest report on assisted suicide and euthanasia in Victoria, released today (1 September 2020) by the Voluntary Assisted Dying Review Board raises more questions than it provides answers.
With the legal operation of a process whose intention is for the person’s life to end immediately and painlessly now in operation for over a year, the need for vigorous scrutiny has never been greater. This report fails to deliver on the promise made when the legislation was passed in 2017.
Basic questions remain unanswered, such as:
- how many doctors participated in assessing people for eligibility? acted as a consulting practitioner? administered a lethal substance to end a person's life? wrote a prescription for a lethal substance to be taken by the person?
- when were complications in the dying process encountered? how long did it take for people to lose consciousness? how long to die?did some people die alone?
- what proportion of applicants underwent palliative care assessment and treatment prior to being given a permit to end their life or have their life ended by lethal medication?
Quotes from ACA spokespersons:
Dr Stephen Parnis, Emergency Physician said:
"In the middle of the Covid-19 Pandemic, we have seen that the regulations governing aged care have proven to be hopelessly inadequate. How can we have any confidence that the so-called safeguards for the dying are any better?"
Assoc Prof Mark Yates, Geriatrician said:
“In the delivery of safe, ethical care for the frail and aged, those of us charged with responsibility for that care – particularly in hospitals – feel unsupported in the current environment.”
Dr John Daffy, Specialist Physician said:
“In 2017, Victorians were promised dramatic improvement to palliative care services across the state. In the three years since that promise, little has changed. Access to palliative has not improved, and VAD should not be the only option”.