Heartfelt experiences shared by Australians who helped terminally ill family members die

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Nothing can lessen the grief of the loss of a loved one, but the option of a voluntary assisted death scheme helps reduce trauma.

A growing number of Australian states are legalizing or considering the introduction of a euthanasia program in accordance with strict guidelines.

About 224 Victorians have ended their lives since state laws came into effect in June 2019.

Since then, Western Australia and Tasmania have passed similar legislation and the topic remains on the agendas of other state parliaments.

In Victoria, adults with incurable and advanced disease with less than six months to live – or 12 months for neurodegenerative diseases – are eligible for access to deadly drugs to end their lives.

Nothing can lessen the grief of losing a loved one, but the option of a voluntary assisted death scheme helps reduce trauma

Nothing can lessen the grief of losing a loved one, but the option of a voluntary assisted death scheme helps reduce trauma

Applicants must make three separate requests to end their life and must be approved by two doctors, including a specialist, who have undergone mandatory training.

Melbourne GP Nick Carr, who sits on the board of Dying with Dignity Victoria, has helped dozens of terminally ill people gain access to the scheme.

“All the things that people said would happen … that we would turn down children and the disabled, force grandmothers to die so grandchildren could get their money, there is just no evidence of that,” he said. MONKEY.

“All it has done is that a very small number of people have been given a better choice at the end of their lives.”

Veteran TV interviewer Andrew Denton, who founded the advocacy group Go Gentle in 2016, was instrumental in the campaign for voluntary aid deaths in Victoria.

His interest in the matter was sparked by the ‘painful and traumatic experience’ of watching his father, Kit Denton, slowly die in 1997.

“Help with dying is peaceful, it is human, but it is not a golden ticket,” he told AAP.

“You still have to say goodbye to everything, that grief and trauma don’t go away for people, but it’s much less traumatic than sitting by the bed because someone you love suffers for days, weeks, or sometimes months.”

In 2015, Denton released a 17-episode podcast series called Better Off Dead, in which he spoke to terminally ill people and their loved ones who were desperate for voluntary euthanasia treatment, including a woman convicted of assisted suicide for her cancer-ravaged father.

On Tuesday, he launches the podcast’s second season, and the difference in experiences ‘couldn’t be greater’.

“I spoke to the daughter of a woman who was 82 years old and who had a terrible degenerative disease. They were able to take her for an afternoon surrounded by grandchildren and great-grandchildren not long before she died. They played movies. Everyone spoke to her, ”Denton said.

The daughter said to her mother, “Look Mommy, this is what you did, none of this would be here if you weren’t here”. It is the most beautiful. ‘

The podcast also looks at the limitations of Victoria’s plan, including the many precautions that have sometimes acted as barriers.

Among the Denton interviewees in season two is Kristin Cornell, whose father Allan died last June, about 100 days after he started the application process to end his life.

Seasoned TV interviewer Andrew Denton, who founded the advocacy group Go Gentle in 2016, was instrumental in the campaign for voluntary aid deaths in Victoria

Seasoned TV interviewer Andrew Denton, who founded the advocacy group Go Gentle in 2016, was instrumental in the campaign for voluntary aid deaths in Victoria

Seasoned TV interviewer Andrew Denton, who founded the advocacy group Go Gentle in 2016, was instrumental in the campaign for voluntary aid deaths in Victoria

The 74-year-old and his family have spent the last few months looking for neurologists trained in the state’s voluntary-assisted dying laws to approve his application.

“While I was pushing my dad to that last neurological appointment, he couldn’t keep his head up, he couldn’t sit in cars,” Mrs. Cornell said.

“When I told him we had to go back to the first neurologist because we were out of time, he cried. I think I’ve seen my dad cry about twice.

“He said,” It’s like I’ve got a carrot dangling in front of me Kristin and I can’t reach it. “

There are 210 medical professionals in Victoria trained to help people access the program, the majority of whom are GPs in metropolitan Melbourne.

Commonwealth laws prohibit consultation over the phone or conference call, making it more difficult for people living out of town.

VOLUNTARY AID DIE IN AUSTRALIA:

Victoria: The voluntary assisted death laws came into effect in June 2019.

WA: Parliament passed laws in December 2019, which must enter into force on July 1, 2021.

Tasmania: laws passed in parliament in March and are expected to come into effect within 18 months.

Queensland: The Palaszczuk government will introduce a bill this year after making it a central part of its reelection campaign.

TO: debating the issue for the 17th time after a member of parliament from the upper house tabled a bill in parliament in December.

NSW: Independent Member of Parliament Alex Greenwich plans to introduce a private bill this year. The state’s most recent attempt to legalize voluntary dying aid in 2017 failed to pass through the House of Lords with one vote.

NT / ACT: NT passed the world’s first law in 1995 and was overturned by the federal government less than two years later. Canberra also scrapped the right of territories to enact euthanasia legislation.

Dr. Carr said the forecasting requirement means some people start the application process too late.

“There is a saying that doctors don’t know you have six months to live until you have six weeks to live,” he said.

“Ideally, the voluntary assisted death bill would say you have end-stage terminal illness, which treatment is unlikely to make a difference, without having to make a prognosis.”

He also hopes the state government will reconsider the requirement to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

“We’ve had people who have lived here for many years but never gotten citizenship,” he said.

‘My very first patient Julian lived here for 40 years, but he was a British citizen. He committed suicide in a very unpleasant way because he was not eligible for voluntary death assistance. ‘

Season two of Better Off Dead will be released Tuesday via wheelercentre.com.

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