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.
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.
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.
Dr Adrian Dabscheck is a Palliative Medicine Consultant.
These reflections were originally published by MercatorNet
During a recent period of enforced rest, I had time to reflect on my attitude to the recently enacted voluntary assisted dying legislation in Victoria and consider my response. I will detail my reaction to the Act and why I have chosen to become a so-called conscientious objector.
The Washington Supreme Court has just ruled in State v Gregory, that capital punishment is unconstitutional on the grounds that it "is administered in an arbitrary manner" and therefore violates the State constitutional ban on "cruel punishment".
"The arbitrary and race based imposition of the death penalty cannot withstand the 'evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.'"
It is instructive to apply this notion of arbitrary imposition of death to the data on assisted suicide from that same State of Washington where assisted suicide has been legal for the past nine years.
On Friday 2 October 2018 a Queensland Supreme Court jury found Graham Morant guilty on two charges: counselling his wife, Jenny Morant, to kill herself and thereby inducing her to do so; and aiding her suicide. It appears that Mr Morant professed a belief in an imminent rapture and the battle of Armageddon. He persuaded his wife to take out insurance policies worth $1.4 million with Morant as the sole beneficiary. He counselled her that she was not personally strong enough to handle the coming trials but that by killing herself she could help others in the church by providing him with the insurance money which he would use to purchase land for a safe refuge for the believers.
Putting aside the particular features of this case, it shows the importance of an absolute prohibition, with serious penalties, on counselling someone to kill themselves – putting into their minds that they would be better off dead and that to commit suicide would be a good, wise and even noble act.