Our Response to WA Premier's Comments About Dr Alida Lancee

It has been reported that Perth GP Dr Alida Lancee is being investigated for murder after assisting a patient to die.

Dr Lancee is one of 72 people who gave moving testimonies in our eBook The Damage Done. She wrote of assisting with the peaceful death of a woman whose suffering was so immense that she had on three occasions been found attempting suicide at home by her distraught daughter.

We don’t support any doctors acting outside the law. But the problem here is not with doctors, it’s with the law. Doctors are being placed in an impossible position, being asked by patients who are dying, and who are suffering beyond medical help, for assistance to die mercifully. This shouldn’t have to happen in secret. It should be fully regulated. A compassionate society writes a law that helps patients and protects doctors in this situation. It does not leave patients to suffer and make doctors criminals.

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Transcript: Andrew Denton's NPC Address



On August 10, Go Gentle Australia co-director Andrew Denton addressed the National Press Club of Australia on the topic The Damage Done: The Price Our Community Pays Without A Law For Assisted Dying.

There he lit a fire, and officially launched our campaign for an assisted dying law in Australia with the release of our book, 'The Damage Done', which you can purchase here.

You can watch the address on the ABC National Press Club website here.

You may download the full transcript as a PDF here.

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The Damage Done: The Price Our Community Pays Without A Law For Assisted Dying

 

I’ve come here today to try and light a fire.

Let me strike the first spark by telling you the story of 90-year-old South Australian Eileen Dawe. As she was dying of cancer last year, Eileen kept a diary. Despite her clearly-stated wish to die she was forced to endure 17 painful weeks until the disease finally took her. Hoping to hasten nature’s course she began to starve herself to death. In her diary she wrote “My country’s laws decree ‘Death by a thousand cuts for me’”. 

If you've ever dieted for a week you know how unpleasant that is. Imagine a month of it. Or more. Weaker and weaker, with all the unpleasantness of starvation PLUS the symptoms of her cancer. Weaker still, and still not dead. 

How can our laws allow such a thing? Not just allow but insist on it. And why – despite polls which consistently show Australians overwhelmingly support a law that would have helped Eileen to die humanely - has no Australian parliament responded to the public will?

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