The Australian pro-life lobby is appalled that Philip Nitschke, sometimes referred to as "Dr Death", is allowed to travel around Australia spruiking his latest killing machine, the Sarco. We call on the state and federal governments to restrict his activities so he can't sell suicide.
"Philip Nitschke sells suicide. His latest killing device the Sarco, which can be replicated with a 3D printer, is extremely dangerous. Just today Nitschke was on the Gold Coast freely showing off the Sarco. How and why is this even allowed, particularly in a state where assisted suicide is illegal and it is an offence to encourage anyone to suicide?" Ms Teeshan Johnson, executive director of Cherish Life Queensland said.
"The pro-life movement of Australia urgently calls on the Queensland Government and the Federal Government to restrict Nitschke's activities while he is in Australia so he can not sell or promote suicide in any way.
"Australia has a devastating suicide problem, and promoting suicide as Nitschke does, is extremely dangerous and counter-productive to suicide prevention programs.
"Nitschke has no medical registration in Australia (he burned his registration some years ago in protest to restrictions the AMA put on him so he couldn't promote suicide) and his livelihood is built on selling suicide. The trail of suicide and heartbreak behind him is well documented. What he promotes is contrary to the law and good medical practice. Nitschke's suicide promoting activities must be shut down urgently.
“It’s tragic that once again doctor-assisted suicide is legal in part of Australia, and we will strongly contend against any push for similar assisted-killing laws here,” Cherish Life Queensland president, Dr Donna Purcell said today.
“Victoria’s so-called Voluntary Assisted Dying laws have the pretence of being safe, with 68 apparent safeguards – but in reality there is no protection from wrongful deaths. The VAD law is extremely dangerous.
“The requirement for a two doctor approval is farcical, as two General Practitioners, neither one of whom needs to be the patients’ regular GP, can sign-off on VAD. There is no requirement for either of the doctors to be a specialist in the area of the patient’s suffering (e.g. an oncologist for cancer patients), and there is no requirement for the patient to be seen by a psychiatrist – which is crucial. Proper mental health checks are extremely important as depression can be a very big problem amongst the elderly, terminally ill and disabled – and can lead to strong feelings of hopelessness and wanting to die.
“Also, there is no requirement for the patient to first consult with a palliative care specialist to be informed of what pain relief can be offered.
“Of particular concern is that the only recommendation which came out of the Victorian End of Life Inquiry that has been fully enacted was the legalisation of VAD. The recommendation to boostthe palliative care budget was effectively ignored. The Victorian overall annual palliative care budget of around $120 millionhas not been increased in the last four years – in real terms it has actually decreased by 4% in this period.
“The Queensland Parliament is conducting a similar end-of life-inquiry with VAD in the mix. One of the most startling things that has come of this inquiry so far is that Queensland has a terrible shortage of palliative care specialists, particularly in the regions.
“With our population there should be 92 full-time palliative care specialists, but we only have 38.4. People are suffering needlessly because of mismanagement and poor resource allocation by the Queensland Government.
“Doctor are meant to be healers not killers. Doctors should kill the pain and not the patient. Euthanasia advocates give the false impression that terminally ill patients have to suffer excruciating pain and dreadful agony. This is simply not the case, as the advanced palliative care available today means that every Australian can have the hope of a tolerable dying process.
“Palliative care focuses on relieving pain and keeping patients comfortable in order to allow a natural and dignified death at their appointed time. In the rare cases where the patient is not responding to painkillers palliative sedation can be applied. Good medical practice is all about facilitating natural death with dignity and peace. This is the complete opposite to intentional killing - which is exactly what VAD is,” Dr Purcell said.