The district court in the Hague has ruled that a person with dementia may be euthanased even if the person is actively resisting the process provided that an advanced directive requesting euthanasia was completed when the person was considered competent.
The case involved a 74 year old woman whose coffee was drugged and who was forcibly restrained by family members while a doctor administered a lethal injection. She had said just a few days before that she didn't want to die.
However, the Court ruled that as she was now demented neither her contemporary expressions of a desire to live nor her active resistance were of any legal value. They were trumped by her previous written declaration.
The Hansard of the debate on Western Australia's assisted suicide and euthanasia bill discloses the following insights from the three man tag wrestling team of Labor ministers attempting in an all-night sitting to explain and justify this Bill with its alleged 102 safeguards.
Premier Mark McGowan confirmed that there will be absolutely no oversight by the Review Board of the appropriateness of any referral made by either of the two assessing doctors to third parties to determine the decision making capacity of the person; whether the person is being coerced or not; or the diagnosis and prognosis of a terminal illness.
The Premier also explained that the person did not have to be told about the "plan in respect of the administration of" the lethal poison but that this could be arranged between, for example, the doctor and "the husband" of "an elderly wife".
The Premier seemed confused as to whether the lethal poison would always kill or not (there have been 8 cases in Oregon where it didn't kill the person).
This entire clause is about providing the patient with as much information as possible about all the matters contained within it. One of them is to advise the patient that if they take the substance, the very likely outcome is that they will pass away. I suppose there is a need to inform the patient that they are going to die, but there is a very slim chance that the substance may not work in whatever circumstance it might be. It is just to be totally clear with the patient that, if they take the substance, they will pass away.
Which is it Premier?: "very likely they will pass away"; "very slim chance it may not work" or "they will pass away"???
Three Ministers – the Minister for Health, the Premier, and the Attorney-General - took turns at explaining (or attempting to explain) the detailed clauses of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019 and defending its seaworthiness during a lengthy overnight debate on Thursday 5 to Friday 6 September 2019.
Humpty Dumpty (the Minister for Health, Roger Cook) continued his insistence that taking a lethal poison to cause one’s own death is NOT suicide because he says so in Clause 11 of his Bill and he is the master:
“this is not suicide; this is the relief of suffering at one’s hand”.
However, “If a death takes place outside the framework of this law, it will become subject to the Criminal Code and it is suicide”.
So on the Minister’s own admission the very same act – taking a lethal poison prescribed by a doctor is NOT suicide if all the right forms are lodged but is suicide if they are not all lodged correctly.
As the Minister for Health, Roger Cook, responded in late night debates in the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia to probing questions on the detail of his Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019 he made some disturbing admissions.
Alarmingly he conceded that, notwithstanding its vaunted 102 safeguards:
nothing in this bill will protect patients from someone who has decided to become a serial murderer—nothing—so to try to provide protection ... is absurd.
Despite a well-reasoned case put by Dr Tony Buti (a Labor member who voted for the Bill) for an amendment to prohibit a doctor from initiating a proposal for assisted suicide or euthanasia with a person, the Minister rejected this proposal and the amendment was defeated 34-17.
Dr Harold Shipman may have killed 250 of his patients
Liberal member for Churchlands, Sean L'Estrange shared with the WA Legislative Assembly how both his mum and dad outlived cancer prognoses to achieve many significant milestones with their family. He warned that if euthanasia and assisted suicide were legalised this could "have hung over them like a difficult decision embedded in their subconscious when they were in their darkest hours".
Labor MP, Margaret Quirk, has warned that the WA euthanasia and assisted suicide bill poses a particular risk to First Nation people; to the elderly; and to regional Western Australians without equitable access to palliative care.
It is an easy option - the white flag of surrender - instead she called on MPs to woprk together to "marshal the considerable resources in our health system to allow those with a terminal illness to enjoy a quality of life in their remaining time".