All posts tagged: euthanasia

“You Disappear When You Get Old,” She Said.

It was a mild autumn afternoon by the river, the water still and the light all toffee and caramel. We were ambling along the water’s edge when an elderly lady came walking her puppy – a silky terrier no larger than a rodent. The pup made instant friends with our two-year-old. There were giggles and face-licking, shrill yapping and shivers of excitement. So it was that I got chatting to a complete stranger. The elegant lady shared openly of her life, a story of immense sorrow and high joys. Her journey was intriguing – I was captivated. I must have stood there with this woman for 20 minutes, until she became self-conscious, realising she had interrupted our stroll. We exchanged names, shook hands and walked our separate ways. In all that she said, there was one sentence that resounded – because it wasn’t the first time I’d heard it. “You disappear when you get old,” she said sadly. My friend (let’s call her Liz), now in her 80s, said those very words no more than a week …

“The Doctors Were Wrong; Our Son Lives”. Child Euthanasia Would Have Robbed This Family of Nine Wonderful Months… and Counting.

Whatever you do, don’t move to Belgium.  Its chocolates may be unsurpassed, its boutique breweries may be consummate but its laws are downright barbaric.  I allude to this speck of a country’s recent decision to legalise euthanasia for terminally ill children of any age.  You heard right.  Child euthanasia.  Any age. Adult euthanasia became legal in Belgium in 2002 and neighbouring Holland has allowed child euthanasia, with a minimum age of 12 years, for some time now.  Sounds a lot like a gradient with a slick and shifty surface. But how would I know what it’s like?  How can I judge when I’ve never been in the agonising situation of mothering a terminally ill child? Fair call. Launceston parents Rebecca and Kyron Fogarty know that their son Leo would have been a prime candidate, were they living in Belgium.  From the age of 14 months, Leo has undergone radiation treatment and chemotherapy in an attempt to obliterate the cancerous tumour in his tummy.  Any semblance of normalcy was upended for this family, and stints in …

Uncovering the Holes in Tasmania’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, 2013

A few weeks back, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, 2013 was tabled in parliament as a Private Members Bill by Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings and Tasmanian Greens Leader Nick McKim.  A bill that, if passed, will allow those who meet certain eligibility criteria to be prescribed and receive a lethal injection.  It will be debated early next week. Good news I bring today. A very smart woman and a very smart man released their research paper yesterday and it rips holes in this death bill, bringing well-referenced, evidence-based critique to the table. READ IT HERE AS A PDF, OR HERE. The paper (Voluntary Euthanasia and ‘Assisted Dying’ in Tasmania: A Response to Giddings and McKim, 2013) is authored by Hannah Graham and Jeremy Prichard: Hannah Graham is an Associate Lecturer in the Sociology and Criminology Program in the School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, and a research assistant in the Faculty of Law at the University of Tasmania.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Criminology and Corrections, and is currently completing her …

Memento Mori – Remember That You Will Die

“I can’t find your pulse,” the nurse said. This didn’t bode well for my employment prospects.  I was sitting there, breathing, blinking, alive as far as I could tell, enduring a medical check for a job I wanted so badly, and which hinged on this evaluation. The nurse continued prodding at my wrist to no avail.  I waited for her to lift her eyes and solemnly shake her head, to say, “I’m sorry Claire, the medical requirements for this position are strict: criteria number 5.4 specifies you must be alive!” She didn’t say that, of course.  Eventually she did find a vein with the requisite throb of blood flow to confirm my humanity to the new boss.  Cue Hallelujah Chorus. One day my pulse will stop.  We each, every one of us, have a death date.  We can frequent the gym, gargle green smoothies, cook with goji berries, chia seeds and maca powder, detox, pop vitamins and steer clear of sugar like it’s the devil incarnate, but even with the best, most holistic, health-conscious treatment …

Confuse Them, Lord, and Frustrate Their Plans

I feel I’ve had my head in the sand a bit of late.  I was talking to someone yesterday and he said, you must be shocked by what the PM said on ABC’s Q and A last night. What? I said. It was on the front page of most national papers, all across the net, radio, social media etc, he pointed out. (Blank look) He went on to explain Kevin Rudd’s telling response to the question of how he can support gay marriage when Jesus explicitly described marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman.  For those who, like me, missed this important comment, his response was:  “Well if I was going to have that view, the Bible also says that slavery is a natural condition.” WHAT? I said. I plucked my head from the ground, shook off the sand and switched on my brain.  Not sure about you, but sometimes I muddle through life.  Motherhood is wonderful, but there are days when Playschool, cubby houses and Lego construction wreak havoc on my thinking …

Euthanasia Case Doubly Concerning

Two things happened last week concerning twins that made headlines. Our own, Tassie-born Princess Mary of Denmark was dubbed the international patron of the Australian and Danish twin registries. Her lovely face will promote twin research in both countries. The new role is particularly poignant for our princess as she is a mother of twins herself – two-year-olds Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine, the youngest of four. I wonder what Princess Mary thought when she read of the other ‘twin’ story that made headlines. South of her Copenhagen home, a hop over Germany, a skip over Holland and a jump into Belgium, 45-year-old twins Marc and Eddy Verbessem opted to take their own lives. Nothing particularly alarming there – euthanasia is legal in many countries. But Marc and Eddy were not in any physical pain. They felt they had nothing to live for and chose euthanasia by lethal injection (legal in Belgium). Therein lies the tragedy. No denying that these guys had a tough life. They were both born deaf, suffered spinal and heart disease and were about to …