To "execute" is defined in the Macquarie Dictionary as "to put to death according to law". While the motive for the execution of criminal offenders and of the terminally or chronically ill may be different the physiological process aimed at is the same - a rapid, painless, humane death. So it is not surprising that in many cases the same drugs are used - and consequently the same risks incurred that the deaths are not in reality rapid, painless or humane.
Noel Pearson warns that sanctioning death as an individual choice is an unprecedented shift in the nature of human society
Indigenous leader, Noel Pearson, has slammed Australian parliaments - beginning with the Northern Territory in 1995 - for leading "the world down a new path for humankind, something unprecedented in all of human prehistory and history: that suicide is now a choice of the individual sanctioned by society."
Despite well-reasoned arguments put forward by 30 MPs demonstrating the fatal flaws in Queensland's Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021, the Bill passed 61-30. Its provisions authorising suicide and euthanasia by administration of a State approved lethal poison will come into effect on 1 January 2023.
The Bill allows even broader access than in Victoria, most notably allowing people who have been assessed by two doctors (neither of whom needs to have any specialist qualifications or experience in the relevant medical condition) as having a condition "expected to cause death in 12 months".
It also imposes legal obligations on medical practitioners to collaborate in the suicide or euthanasia of their patients by giving them "approved information" on how to get assistance to end their lives. There is no exemption for, say, a psychiatrist treating a patient with a history of suicidal ideation.
The Bill also prevents any aged care facility or hospital from becoming a sanctuary where no resident or patient may be killed by administration of a poison.
A series of amendments moved by David Janetzki (LNP - Toowoomba South) were all defeated, leaving the Queensland bill the most reckless and draconian suicide and euthanasia legislation in Australia.
61-30 vote in the single chamber Parliament of Queensland legalises suicide and euthanasia by lethal poison from 1 January 2023
Thoracic physician, Dr Luke Garske and Professor Paul Glare, Specialist Physician, Pain medicine have warned that under Queensland's Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021 an estimated 10 out of 100 Queenslanders who access assistance to suicide or euthanasia will end their lives based on a wrong belief that they have a terminal illness.
As euthanasia enthusiast, comedian Andrew Denton admits "there is no guarantee ever that doctors will be 100% right".
Dr Garske and Professor Glare explain:
The Queensland Bill simplistically assumes that doctors can accurately predict how long patients with severe life limiting disease will live. It requires two doctors to agree that a patient is expected to live for less than 12 months (compared to less than 6 months in four other states). It is known that doctors are very poor at accurately predicting whether you will live less than 12 months.
At least 10% of patients predicted to live less than 12 months would have still been living in three years.
If the Queensland bill is passed, we estimate that 10 out of 100 Queenslanders who choose assisted suicide will have done so based on the wrong belief that they had a terminal illness. In contrast, in the four other states, which offer assisted suicide when you are expected to live less than 6 months, we estimate that 1 out of 100 patients will have chosen to have an assisted suicide, based on the wrong belief that they had a terminal illness.
Is it acceptable for Queenslanders to have so many extra wrongful deaths, because of an arbitrary extension of an eligibility criterion that isn’t based on expert medical advice? Why is this extra 6 months even necessary, when the assessment process takes only 9 days, and we are supposedly doing this to prevent suffering at the end of life?
Professor Paul Glare, Specialist Physician, Pain Medicine
A study of 45 people who were euthanased at Ottawa Hospital for lung cancer showed that in 13 cases (28.9%) there was no confirmation of the condition by biopsy - an otherwise standard diagnostic procedure. In 10 cases (22%) there was no consultation at any stage with a medical oncologist to discuss prognosis and treatment options.
The time between diagnosis and euthanasia being performed was as short as 3 weeks.
Treatments for lung cancer have improved considerably over the last few years leading to a reduction in mortality and an increase in the five year survival rate which is now 21.7%, according to the (US) National Cancer Institute.
Deaths by assisted suicide nearly doubled in Victoria’s second year of experimenting with State-sponsored assisted suicide, with 172 such deaths in 2020/21 compared to 110 in 2019/20. Deaths by lethal injection also increased 45% from 20 to 29.
The 201 deaths by State prescribed lethal poison in 2020/21 already far exceeds the annual rate of “100 to 150 deaths” which Premier Dan Andrews predicted it would stabilise at after several years.
Deaths by prescribed lethal poison now represent over 0.5% of all deaths in Victoria. It took Oregon twenty-one years to reach that rate.
The State Wide Pharmacy Services rushes lethal poisons to Victorians with a State issued permit to suicide