Compassion and respect

Another example confirming the approach taken in the Tasmanian Bill

Julia Lamb’s story from Canada is a very good example of why the Tasmanian Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill allows access to a doctor’s help for people in a situation like hers. That is, for people in the advanced stages of a serious incurable and irreversible medical condition with no chance of recovery AND with intolerable and unrelievable suffering AND with the agreement of the person and their doctor there are no options left to relieve the person’s suffering or improve their condition TO THE PERSON’S SATISFACTION.  

The Tasmanian Bill does not treat life as merely physical and does not require that the end of their physical life is foreseeable – without any regard for the prolonged suffering this will cause.  Nor does it require a prognosis of 6 or 12 months left to suffer. We hope Julia is successful in her court action and achieves humanity and respect for people in her situation.

The Tasmanian Bill is based on evidence and testimonials from many people that they are at the end of their lives when they will never again be free of intolerable and unrelievable suffering and when they are so seriously ill they can never again have the quality of life that is acceptable to them.

As the Professor of Palliative Care at the University of Tasmania, Michael Ashby, argues consistently, the person’s autonomous wishes matter in palliative care and in relation to assisted dying.  In his paper in the QUT Law Review, Volume 16, last year, he said:

We need to ensure that individuals, societies and health systems are orientated towards care that meets the real needs and wishes of people as the end of life approaches, and that law and ethics also recognise death and modern patterns of ageing, chronic illness and dying. Causation and choice are important aspects, but ultimately we do not choose whether we die or not; but we can have a substantial say in how we die. (our emphasis)


Palliative care needs to be available for all, regardless of belief about assisted dying, but it also needs to be acknowledged that palliative care, however good and available, does not meet the needs or autonomous wishes of all people. (our emphasis)

It’s the person’s autonomous wishes that the doctors will take into account, not anyone else’s – and certainly not those of self-appointed spokespeople for people with disabilities who speak for no-one but themselves and show no respect for others.  Arguing against the right of people with disabilities to make up their own minds is demeaning and discriminatory towards them.

1 Comment
  1. I support the Bill for supported euthanasia, dying with dignity when life is intolerably painful.

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Dying with Dignity Tasmania

P O Box 1022,
Sandy Bay,
Tas 7006,

Tel. 0450 545167

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