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Six Australians Suicide in Switzerland

At least six Australians were assisted to suicide in Switzerland in 2018.

The latest statistics released by Dignitas reveal that it has assisted a total of 32 Australians to suicide in Switzerland since 2003, with 5 cases in 2018 alone.

Additionally, David Goodall, was assisted to suicide at the Basel clinic of Eternal Spirit (lifecircle) in May 2018. Goodall was not terminally ill and had no major disease, so assisted suicide is apparently being offered also for those “tired of life”.

Uber-poison service from The Alfred

On 5 January 2019 the Minister for Health, Martin Foley, announced that The Alfred Hospital pharmacy would be "the sole service for dispensing" the lethal cocktails of poisons to be used for assisted suicide and euthanasia across Victoria.

"For people too sick to travel, the pharmacy service will deliver them their medication and provide information on administration".

Woman seeks Euthanasia for Pelvic Mesh Pain

A Canadian study that tracked more than 57,000 women has found patients with complications after pelvic mesh implants are at increased risk of depression, self-harm – even suicide.

The study published in the journal JAMA tracked more than 57,000 women in Ontario who had complications like pain and infections after receiving the polypropylene implants used to treat incontinence. The study found that:

  • Of those referred for mesh removal surgery, 11 per cent were treated for depression
  • Meanwhile, 2.7 per cent suffered from self-harm/suicidal behavior, almost double the rate in the control group

Investigation and prosecution in Belgium

Since euthanasia was legalised in Belgium in 2002 and it has increasingly become normalised as the go-to response to an ever widening range of circumstances including children with disabilities, uncompleted suicides and victims of child abuse.

It is therefore surprising to learn of two recent case of criminal investigation, one of which is now being prosecuted.

Dr Marc van Hoey, who estimates he has personally euthanased about 140 people, is being investigated  for his actions in 2015 when he performed euthanasia on an elderly woman who was threatening to commit suicide after the sudden death of her daughter.

Dr Lieve Thienpont, a psychiatrist, and two other doctors are being prosecuted for the poisoning in April 2010 – under the guise of euthanasia - of a 38 year old woman, Tine Nys.

Lotte, Tine and Sophie Nys

Lotte, Tyne and Sophie Nys

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".

Australian Care Alliance