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".

It is not evident how this administrative announcement can prevent other pharmacists from participating in providing lethal substances under the Act.

The notion of a kind of "uber-poison" service to country Victoria - where there is a chronic shortage in ready access to palliative care medicines as needed - is particularly disturbing.

There is no requirement for any doctor or other health practitioner to be present when the poison is ingested.

In Oregon, under a similar scheme, in 2017 for two out of three (66.43%) people there was no physician or other healthcare provider known to be present at the time of ingestion.  More than one in nine (11.63%) of those for whom information about the circumstances of their deaths is available either had difficulty ingesting or regurgitated the lethal dose, had seizures or other complications or regained consciousness and died subsequently from the underlying illness.

The interval from ingestion of lethal drugs to unconsciousness was as long as four hours while the time from ingestion to death was as long as 21 hours.

Imagine these complications occurring for a person who is home alone when they ingest the poison.

For more fatal flaws in Victoria's experiment with assisted suicide read further here.

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