Read the latest from Australian Care Alliance

Suicide risk after cancer diagnosis

A population wide study covering 20 years of data from England has confirmed that people diagnosed with cancer are at increased risk of suicide – 20% overall – compared to the general population, with some cancer diagnoses (such as mesothelioma, pancreatic, lung, esophageal, and stomach cancers) associated with a higher relative risk.

The study found that the elevated risk was highest during the first six months following diagnosis including a risk of suicide within one week of diagnosis.

Queensland inquiry into end of life care

On Wednesday 14 November 2018, the second last sitting day for the year, the Queensland Parliament agreed to a motion moved by the Premier, Anna Palaszczuk "That the Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee inquire into aged care, end-of-life and palliative care and report to the Legislative Assembly on:

  • (a) the delivery of aged care, end-of-life and palliative care in Queensland across the health and ageing service
    systems; and
  • (b) Queensland community and relevant health practitioners views on the desirability of supporting voluntary
    assisted dying, including provisions for it being legislated in Queensland and any necessary safeguards to protect
    vulnerable persons.

The Committee is to consider "the current legal framework, relevant reports and materials in other Australian states and territories and overseas jurisdictions, including the Victorian Government’s Inquiry into end-of-life choices, Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017(Vic) and implementation of the associated reforms".

WA Expert Panel to Create a Unicorn

The unicorn is a lovely, delightful creature with just one unfortunate defect – it is a creature of fantasy that doesn’t exist in the real world.

In a media release dated 12 November 2018 the McGowan Labor Government has formally announced its intention to “introduce a Bill into State Parliament to legalise voluntary assisted dying in Western Australia.”

The Bill will be drafted in consultation with a panel of 11 experts who are tasked with providing “advice to government on a safe and compassionate framework for voluntary assisted dying in Western Australia”.

Court to determine dementia case

Is it OK to kill a person with dementia who does not want to die?

How vague can an advanced statement regarding euthanasia be and still be relied upon to justify killing a person with dementia?

These are the kinds of questions to which the common sense answers no longer seem to suffice once a jurisdiction normalises euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Euthanasia consent by gestures

A decision by authorities in the Netherlands has once again lowered the bar for euthanasia in that country. In this case it was determined that hand squeezes, nods, eye blinking and crying (!) were all sufficient signs of consent from a woman drifting in and out of a comatose state to go ahead with euthanasia.

Victoria's assisted suicide bill, which is scheduled to come into effect on 19 June 2019, explicitly provides for assisted suicide and euthanasia requests to be made by gestures.


Happy 21st Oregon? No reason to celebrate

Oregon’s Dying With Dignity Act which allows medical practitioners to prescribe lethal drugs to a person to use to commit suicide came into force on 27 October 1997.

Oregon publishes annual reports on the operation of the Dying With Dignity Act.  Although the data is limited nonetheless a careful analysis of the 20 annual reports published to date reveals significant issues with the practice of physician assisted suicide in Oregon.

Australian Care Alliance