How euthanasia affects those who work in veterinary services

How euthanasia affects those who work in veterinary services

image: http://moorevet.com/hospice-euthanasia/4498837

The following article by Michael Cook, Editor of BioEdge, appeared in their 12 July 2018 newsletter and is republished here, with his permission.

Every year, about 1.5 million cases of euthanasia take place in the United States. Does this have a negative impact on healthcare workers? Sorry, about 1.5 million cases of cat and dog euthanasia take place. But the question is still relevant. Veterinarians, veterinary assistants and shelter workers experience great stress at having to put animals down.

The emotional connection between the work of human doctors and animal doctors is closer than you might think. Owners often react to a pet’s death with the intensity of grief which appears equivalent to the loss of a beloved relative.

So the moral stress which vets experience is relevant. Suicide amongst vets has been the topic of several studies. “Veterinarians are four times more likely than members of the general population and two times more likely than other health professionals to die by suicide,” according to a 2012 study in the journal of The American Association of Suicidology, Suicide and Life-Threatening Behaviour.   

Why? Performing euthanasia day in, day out, also appears to make some vets less able to resist the temptation to commit suicide. The authors of the 2012 study found that “… all else being equal, veterinarians may be more likely than members of other professions to enact a lethal attempt when they desire suicide because their exposure to euthanasia has rendered them less fearful of death.”   

Aren’t there lessons in these finding which are relevant to doctors who euthanize their patients? Sometimes doctors in Belgium or the Netherlands are quoted as saying that the death they helped was beautiful or peaceful. Could that be bravado masking their own nonchalance about human death?

How many times have we all heard the argument, “You wouldn’t let a dog suffer like this…” Its logic is that if the suffering of animals and humans is essentially the same, they both should be released from suffering in the same way. But if the animal-human parallel works for the patient, why not for the doctor? If we allow euthanasia, surely we can expect the same burn-out rates and the same suicide rates as veterinarians … at least the same. That should scare us all – especially the doctors who will be responsible.

Michael Cook
Editor
BioEdge

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Churches and individuals urged to organise submissions on the End of Life Choice Bill

Churches and individuals urged to organise submissions on the End of Life Choice Bill

NZ Christian Network is advising everyone who is concerned about euthanasia being legalised in New Zealand to make sure that they send a submission to the Justice Select Committee. This matter is now very time-sensitive: Submissions to the Select Committee have been extended and close at midnight Tuesday 6 March 2018.

The End of Life Choice Bill, which has already passed its first reading in Parliament, poses a major threat to the well-being of New Zealand society”, says Dr Stuart Lange, the interim National Director of the New Zealand Christian Network.

“Allowing individuals the freedom to choose euthanasia rather than endure possible future suffering seems like an attractive option to many in our society, which places such a premium on individual freedom. Over time, however, State-sanctioned provision for medically-assisted suicide would inevitably dangerously compromise society’s commitment to the compassionate care of those who are terminally ill, disabled, elderly, or depressed. Instead of society valuing and supporting the lives of vulnerable people, there would be a growing tacit encouragement for such people to choose to have their lives ended. As has happened in some other countries, voluntary euthanasia would inescapably lead to the increasing incidence of involuntary euthanasia, the ultimate breach of human rights.”

As a Christian organisation, New Zealand Christian Network obviously holds strongly to the value of every human life. But we are by no means alone in that. Our whole society is predicated on a commitment to human life, and on respect and compassionate care for vulnerable people. So is our medical system, which we currently trust to care rather than to kill. This bill puts all that in grave jeopardy.

We believe the End of Life Choice Bill is unnecessary. The vast majority of people, including those with terminal illness, do not in fact die in great pain, and New Zealand’s palliative care system is well able to prevent most extreme pain.

Dr Lange adds: “In the cause of individual freedom, and with an avoidance of all safe-guards, the Seymour Bill could readily leave New Zealand society wide open to all the most chilling effects of euthanasia. If New Zealand must have euthanasia – which we ourselves believe is neither necessary nor ethical – then this is the worst possible bill to introduce it. The wording of this bill would mean that the State would in effect be providing medically-assisted suicide on demand, not just for terminally-ill people, but for anyone who felt they had a ‘grievous’ condition and requested help to die.”  

The Justice Select Committee needs to hear from thinking members of the public. The reality is, if people do not make a submission, silence is interpreted as assent. 

New Zealand Christian Network urges churches and individuals to make a submission. Below, we set out how this may be done, and provide resources.

How to make submissions on the End of Life Choice Bill

Links

Read and follow the progress of the proposed bill

End of Life Choice Bill

Make a submission

Online
Email

Post

Guideline

It is very important that all submitters write in their own words, rather than cut and paste from other sources. Form letters carry little very weight.

It is also crucial that submissions be respectful, reasoned, and to the point.

Submissions must be addressed to the Committee Secretariat, Justice and include:

  1. Your name
  2. Heading:
    “SUBMISSION – End of Life Choice Bill”
  3. Your own details:
    Name of Individual / Family / Organisation
    Address
    Phone
  4. Your signature
  5. Whether or not you wish to make a verbal submission, appearing before the committee (YES / NO)

Writing to your MP does not count as a submission, but does let them know where you stand on this issue.

Submissions made by post must contain TWO copies addressed to the

Committee Secretariat, Justice, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160

Send by Sunday 25 Feb to ensure they will be received in time

Click on the section titles below to view their contents.

You may wish to use this list as an aid to making your own points in your submission.

People on both sides of the debate are eager to lessen human suffering, but the key issue is the long-term consequences of any law change for public safety. This is an issue of basic human rights (the right to life) and of social justice – in particular, protecting the vulnerable.

Good clinical care aims to eliminate the pain, not kill the patient.

We should not ask doctors, who have a duty of care, to be involved in killing their patients. It is currently illegal to kill, or to withhold the “necessaries” of life from vulnerable people.

The fact that medically-assisted suicide and euthanasia are currently illegal means maximum efforts are made to relieve pain and address all aspects of a person’s suffering. Will that still occur if the law is changed?

The trust which most people now have in the medical professions and hospitals will be seriously eroded, if doctors are authorised to actively end patients’ lives, and protected in law in doing so.

These days no-one need die in pain. Persistent requests for euthanasia are mostly related not to unrelieved pain but to a desire to be in control, a fear of being a burden or the experience of social isolation. Medically-assisted suicide/euthanasia is not the right or best response to these issues.

When seriously ill patients receive good palliative care they rarely want to end their lives.

Seriously ill patients who wish their lives to end already have the right to decline life-prolonging treatment, food and hydration, so that natural death will soon occur.

Very few people actually die in great pain, especially with good palliative care.

A great many medical prognoses and predictions of how long terminally ill people will live prove to be inaccurate. Some patients live much longer, and some recover completely.

The New Zealand Medical Association, the Society of Palliative Medical Physicians and the Palliative Care Nurses New Zealand Society all oppose any law change. Parliament and the media need to take their informed opposition much more seriously.

Section 4 of the “End of Life Choice” bill offers “assisted dying” to any New Zealand citizen (or permanent resident) aged 18 or over who has “the ability to understand…the consequences of assisted dying” and who has “a terminal illness that is likely to end his or her life within 6 months” OR “a grievous and irremediable medical condition” OR “is in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability” OR “experiences unbearable suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner that he or she considers tolerable”. These qualifications are not limited to a terminal illness, and the other categories are loose and highly subjective. They would presumably permit medically-assisted suicide on the basis of any condition which a person considers “grievous” or not “tolerable”, e.g. incipient Alzheimer’s, chronic arthritis, physical disability, recurring depression, psychiatric disorder, or any loss of physical capacity. The person wishing to die would not need any professional medical confirmation. They would only need to declare that they considered their condition “grievous” and not “tolerable”. This would amount to state-sanction suicide/euthanasia on demand.

Legalising medically-assisted suicide/euthanasia undermines the long-standing convention against the State killing persons. It was for that reason that most countries abolished capital punishment. Changing the law would create a legal situation in which the state licenses death in advance and sanctions the death of certain of its citizens. This is ethically abhorrent.

The legalising of medically-assisted suicide, especially for irreversible and unbearable mental conditions, accepts that “some suicides are okay”. State-sanctioned suicide would help normalise the societal acceptability of suicide, and would greatly undermine efforts to reduce the existing tragedy of very high suicide rates in New Zealand, especially among youth. This would be a major inconsistency.

Suicidal thoughts are usually associated with depression. Research shows that when depression is properly treated, most people change their minds about wanting to die.

Changing the law would send a message that the lives of some are not worth living – it will steer persons towards a premature death.

Abuse of the disabled and elderly is a serious issue in our country. Legalising euthanasia will put elderly people (including those with dementia, mobility issues, and incontinence) at further risk, especially in a society where the numbers of elderly are growing and there is increasing pressure on the health budget.

It is neither rational (on grounds of equity) nor possible long-term to limit medically-assisted suicide/euthanasia to particular groups of people, or to specific conditions, or only to those aged 18 years or over. As has occurred overseas, there would be the same inevitable erosion of boundaries here in New Zealand.

Allowing euthanasia/medically assisted suicide opens the door for the disabled, sick and elderly to see themselves as an excessive financial and emotional burden. The “right to die” could in time become a “duty to die”. No legislation can protect against this.

Many assume that changing the law will simply allow the very small number of high-profile cases to proceed without legal objection. In fact, “legalisation leads to normalisation” and, as has happened overseas, will lead to greatly increased numbers dying through euthanasia.

Overseas experience (such as in Holland and Belgium) clearly shows that legalising voluntary medically-assisted suicide/euthanasia paves the way for euthanasia without request or consent.

New Zealand abolished the death penalty in part because of the danger of executing even one innocent person. Legalising medically-assisted suicide/euthanasia will inevitably lead to some people being killed when they don’t want to die.

Granting a small and vocal minority the freedom to be killed (if they so wish) will inevitably undermine the choice and/or will of many others to live.

There many excellent resources available which can provide useful and well-informed assistance to those making a submission.

We offer some material below, and also commend the following websites:

  • Click here for relevant material on our website.
  • Care Alliance has produced a brochure to help people make submissions.
  • Family First provide well-documented material on what has happened overseas.
  • Note also the speeches of some MPs in the recent debates, notably that of Maggie Barry, who highlighted the risks of elder abuse and the absence of safeguards.

 Other useful websites

Suggested openings:

I oppose the End of Life Choice Bill because…

I don’t want Parliament to legalise euthanasia through this Bill because…

I am totally against assisted suicide because…

Euthanasia should stay illegal because…

I don’t want the End of Life Bill to pass because…

I am against what this Bill stands for because…

I oppose making assisted suicide legal because…

I am against all forms of euthanasia because…

I oppose any sort of assisted suicide because…

I oppose the passing of this Bill because…

Possible reasons:

…people need support, not killing.
…it will hurt vulnerable people.
…it will harm public safety.
…it will encourage more people to commit suicide.
…because it will hurt disabled people.
…it not necessary with excellent palliative care.
…it will put the elderly at risk.
…safeguards do not work do not work in practice.
…it can lead to unfair pressure on sick people.
…doctors can make mistakes about how long people will live.
…of the slippery slope.
…people who ask for it are often depressed.
…people with depression need positive help.
…depressed people often have clouded judgement.
…in overseas countries, it has led to abuse.
…it will make suicide prevention even harder.
…there is no way to enforce safeguards.
…it will open the door to euthanasia on demand.
…it is impossible to restrict it to the terminally ill.
…doctors should heal not kill their patients.
…it is open to elder abuse.
…it will tell teenagers it is ok to commit suicide.
…it suggests that death is the answer to problems.
…it will eventually apply to children here too.
…I don’t support the killing of my fellow-citizens.
…it endangers the elderly and disabled.
…it will lead to increased tolerance of all suicides.
…it is both unnecessary and unsafe.
…it will hurt the weakest members of society.
…it will discriminate against powerless people.
…we should instead promote palliative care.
…it will lead to the deaths of lonely and depressed people.
…we need to protect the vulnerable.
…these days no-one needs to die in pain.
…I worry about the impact on depressed people.
…it will provide a cheaper option than real healthcare.
…we should not encourage suicide.

Source: provided by Richard Waugh, Chairman Auckland Church Leaders Meeting, National Church Leaders Meeting, and National Superintendent of the Wesleyan Methodist Church of New Zealand.

Before the Submission-writing Session

  1. Print one form template for every person (download the To the Justice Select Committee form).
  2. Gather a small team of helpers who can assist your congregation.
  3. Announce in the Notices that there will be an opportunity to make a brief submission at the end of the service. If anyone is able to speak briefly about the Bill, that would be excellent.
  4. Please provide a good supply of ballpoint pens.
  5. Each person needs to write their name and other contact details on the front.
  6. If a person wishes to speak to the Committee to explain their viewpoint further (ie making an ‘oral submission’), they should make sure they tick the appropriate box.
  7. At the back of the form, people should write their message (see Helpful Guide for ideas).
  8. The Helpful Guide is in two parts and is easy to follow. People in the group/congregation should try to choose different combinations from the person next to them.

Office or Supervisor Role

  1. Photocopy the back of the form (the side with the handwritten message).
  2. Staple each of the photocopies and their respective forms together.
  3. Put all the forms into an A4 envelope. Put $3 postage on the envelope.
  4. Write the address on the envelope:

    Committee Secretariat

    Justice
    Parliament Buildings
    Wellington 6160
  5. Please mail the envelopes before or on Tuesday 13 February (to allow a week for post).If you live in Wellington, you can take the envelopes to Parliament in Molesworth Street and give them to the reception desk. You don’t need to stamps on if you drop them off, but you do need to write the address on the envelope. Parliament should will take envelopes until the closing day ie Tuesday 20 February, but you are advised to deliver them earlier than this if possible.
What happened when we introduced 4-year-olds to an old people’s home

What happened when we introduced 4-year-olds to an old people’s home

This article comes from The Conversation, an independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community and delivered directly to the public.

This UK ‘experiment’ is a wonderful example of bringing our communities together for the benefit of all. A timely lesson for western cultures.

What happened when we introduced four-year-olds to an old people’s home

It does wonders for the health and mood of the elderly


Lying on the floor pretending to roar like a lion can do wonders for an elderly man’s well-being. That’s not a scientific fact, but it was one of the surprising and memorable moments we observed while making a television program which introduced a group of very young people with residents of a retirement village.

The two episodes of Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds set out to explore the increasing isolation of older people within our communities.

The impact of young children and older people sharing daytime care facilities has already been shown to be generally positive. But this was the first time an experiment was undertaken within the UK to measure the impact of inter-generational interaction on the health and happiness of the older group.

Ten four-year-old children and 11 people in their late 80s were brought together for six weeks in a new nursery set within a retirement community in the city of Bristol. Before we started, the elderly participants were measured on their cognition, mood and depression, as well as physical abilities including balance and the ability to get up and walk (“Timed Up and Go”). These measurements were taken again at three weeks and once more at the end of the six-week programme.

The programme consisted of a timetable of activities in which the two generations were given time and space to engage physically and socially. It included games, occasionally requiring individuals to get down on and off the floor, walking outdoors, picnicking and participating in indoor activities using a variety of craft and art work. The final week also included an inter-generational sports day and a short theatrical production.

After three weeks, the halfway point, there were noticeable improvements in the residents’ measurement scores. Final measurements revealed significant improvements in the majority of metrics, with 80% percent of residents showed improvement in the “Timed Up and Go”. Grip strengths were up generally and activity tracker scores showed that the residents had become increasingly active over a 24-hour period. On sports day, one woman who could not recall the last time she ran, was seen sprinting off with her companion four-year-old in order to beat the competition.

At the start of the experiment, nearly all of the residents were identified as depressed, two of them severely. After six weeks, none of them was registered as depressed. They had completely changed their outlook on life and in their hope for the future. Even the most sceptical person within the group, who had been heard to say “I can’t really see it making any great difference to us”, admitted that the children had brought “great joy”.

Lifting spirits

This was not a scientific trial or a traditional academic research project. It was a social experiment involving a very small group of people. But the results showed marked changes in the residents’ physical ability and mood.

When you get very old you become less mobile, friends die, and you can’t get out to meet people. If you live in a care home, the only younger people you see every day are staff. That’s why depression is the epidemic of old age – and it’s important for us to present opportunities for them to meet young people.

Children are open minded. They love attention and take an interest in adults. At the same time, children learn quite mature skills from adults, so this inter-generational engagement is reciprocal.

You can’t cure arthritis completely, but you can increase confidence and, with the help and encouragement of the children, we saw our older folks doing things they never imagined they’d do again – jumping, dancing and rolling around on the floor.

As a consequence of our television experiment, significant developments are underway within the trust which took part in the program. Contact with the children and their families has been encouraged and continued. They are investigating additional ways to increase socialisation of the residents with surrounding communities. And plans are even in place to build a permanent nursery in one of the trust’s homes.

The ConversationMany older adults live depressed lives in isolation with sadness, hopelessness, and negative feelings toward the self. This experiment has shown that, within a short timeframe – and where people share a similar vision of intergenerational mixing – it is possible to bring about significant enhancement in the well-being of older people.

Melrose Stewart, Lecturer in Physiotherapy, University of Birmingham and Malcolm Johnson, Professor in Gerontology and End of Life Care, University of Bath. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

MIC 08 | The experts against euthanasia

MIC 08 | The experts against euthanasia

To help New Zealanders understand what David Seymour’s ‘End of Life Choices Bill’ entails, and what it would mean in Practice, MAXIMINSTITUTE hosted two visiting UK experts at their recent MIC event.

Baroness Ilora Finlay is Professor of Palliative Medicine at Cardiff University. She has been President of the Medical Women’s Federation, President of the British Medical Association, President of the Royal Society of Medicine and is President of the Chartered Society for Physiotherapy. She also chaired the Association for Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland, and since 2014 has chaired the National Council for Palliative Care.

Robert Preston worked in Whitehall as a civil servant for 30 years. In that role he examined Lord Joffe’s Private Member’s Bill, “Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill” and he is now Director of the think-tank, Living and Dying Well, which works to examine the objective evidence surrounding the controversial end-of-life debate and publishes research to help inform Parliament and the public.

Both came to be involved in the issue of assisted suicide and euthanasia through their involvement in the 2005 British Select Committee that conducted a comprehensive investigation of the practices of assisted dying around the world. Following the conclusion of that inquiry, both have continued as advocates of improved elder and palliative care, as well as working to oppose legalised assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Both presentations were highly informative, however, the Q&A segment was extremely illuminating. Below is the list of questions asked from the floor with the timestamp on the video.

  • 1:25 Q: Who are you to tell someone who is in pain that they can’t do what they want? If it’s their life, shouldn’t they have the right to do what they want?
  • 4:20 Q: Can palliative care really relieve all suffering? Aren’t there going to be people who still suffer even with the best care we can offer?
  • 5:20 Q: How do the safeguards in David Seymour’s End of Life Choices Bill compare to the safeguards required by similar laws in The Netherlands, Oregon, Belgium etc.?
  • 8:25 Q: Do you think there’s any chance your views on assisted suicide would shift if one of your own family members was ill, in agony, and wanted help to end their pain?
  • 13:30 Q: Purely this is too important a question to trust to just 121 MPs in Parliament. Shouldn’t we settle the issue of euthanasia with a binding referendum so the people can decide?
  • 16:00 Q: Isn’t opposition to euthanasia just driven by religious views? How do you think religion interacts or should interact with this subject?
  • 16:50 Q: You talk about the Hippocratic Oath – “first do no harm.” Proponents of euthanasia have made legal arguments that suggest denying people access to legal assisted suicide means that we’re essentially forcing them to continue suffering, and in essence, doing harm to them. Also, they say that people who want to die on their own terms may choose to commit suicide before they lose capacity, effectively shortening the life they could have had if they were certain someone else could end their life for them later on. How do you respond to these arguments?
  • 20:55 Q: You talk negatively about the rising numbers of people using euthanasia and assisted suicide in the Netherlands and Oregon respectively. Isn’t this just showing that legalising it is giving people options that they want? Is it necessarily a bad thing to see rising levels of euthanasia?
  • 23:45 Q: It seems that a lot of this debate isn’t just about levels of pain, but it’s the idea that any level of suffering or loss of autonomy is something we should have the right to avoid. How do you address those sorts of concerns?
  • 26:20 Q: In your experience in public debate around assisted suicide in the UK, what’s one argument that you have found really resonates with people?
  • 30:35 Q: What about situations where someone is in agony because of their condition, but simply ceasing medical treatment won’t allow them to die? Isn’t there a case for assisted suicide then?

 

 

 

Looking for more articles on Euthanasia and the debate in New Zealand?


NZ Christian Network

MAXIMINSTITUTE

Hospice NZ
includes a recording of a teleconference with Baroness Finlay

Nathaniel Centre

Euthanasia-Free NZ

MIC 08 | The experts against euthanasia

Voluntary euthanasia bill to be debated. Again…

On 8 June 2017, ACT MP David Seymour’s private members’ bill was pulled from the ballot, starting the latest round of the euthanasia debate. It seems like only yesterday, that a bill to legalise voluntary euthanasia was withdrawn amid fears it would become a political football during an election year. Hang on, it’s an election year again!

What’s the difference between Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide?

Euthanasia is an intervention undertaken with the intention of ending a life to relieve suffering, for example, a lethal injection administered by a doctor

Assisted suicide is any act that intentionally helps another person kill themselves, for example by providing them with the means to do so, most commonly by prescribing a lethal medication

When David Seymour’s bill was drawn, National and Whanganui MP Chester Borrows said he was firmly against it [the bill].

We have a horrific record on suicide and I think it sends a message that sometimes it is okay to top yourself. And I disagree with that.

Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges said he was likely to vote against it, but may vote for it to go to a select committee so it could be properly debated. “Ultimately life is sacred and I think there are … ‘thin edge of the wedge’ arguments that concern me.”

What will that debate look like? The world has progressed since Maryan Street’s ‘End-of-Life Choice Bill’ was dropped. Views have changed and euthanasia laws in other countries have evolved over the past four years. Here’s a quick look at recent articles in the media if you want to consider the trajectory euthanasia laws have taken.

Did you read the first article in the list? Here are are some of the key points that need highlighting:

The Dutch are complacent about their famous law, he says. But there is no room for complacency. Under current legislation, euthanasia is only legal if a doctor believes that three conditions have been met: (1) the request must be voluntary and deliberate; (2) there must be unbearable suffering with no hope of improvement; and (3) there must no reasonable alternative to euthanasia. However, as euthanasia has sunk its roots deeper and deeper into Dutch medicine, the second and third conditions have shrivelled up. Patients define what is unbearable and they define what is a reasonable alternative. Unhappiness can be unbearable and a nursing home may not be a reasonable alternative. So, as one ethicist has observed, requirements (2) and (3) “add little to the requirement of a voluntary and thoughtful request”. Autonomy has trumped medicine. As a result, the number of euthanasia cases roughly tripled between 2007 and 2016, from 2000 to 6000.

One sign of the changing times is the rapid expansion of the services of the End of Life Clinic Foundation (Stichting Levenseindekliniek). This organisation offers euthanasia to patients whose own doctors have refused. They never offer to treat the underlying illness, whether it is physical or mental.

Last year, Dr Chabot points out, doctors from the End of Life Clinic each performed about one euthanasia every month. “What happens to doctors for whom a deadly injection becomes a monthly routine?” he asks. Now the End of Life Clinic is recruiting psychiatrists to service the mentally ill and demented. One obvious problem is that there is a shortage of good psychiatric help in the Netherland – which tends to take a long time have an effect, in any case – because of budget cuts.

Dr Chabot is deeply sceptical about euthanasia for the demented: “we are dealing with a morally problematic act: how do you kill someone who does not understand that he will be killed?”

How? It turns out that sometimes a relative or doctor secretly laces their food or drink with a sedative to make it easier to give them a lethal injection. In one notorious case last year, the sedative didn’t work and relatives pinned the terrified woman to the bed while the doctor gave the lethal injection. Dr Chabot was astonished to discover that “surreptitious administration of medication has previously occurred, but has never been mentioned in an annual report.”

Isn’t anyone paying attention to these developments, Dr Chabot asks.

While researching this topic, I realised that only western countries seem to face this issue. Why is that? http://www.scielo.br/pdf/bioet/v24n2/en_1983-8034-bioet-24-2-0355.pdf 

What’s the real problem?

Euthanasia is presented as a solution for those who are suffering unbearable pain, by allowing them to exercise their right to take their own life and not be forced to live with their current or progressing condition.

Is depression a medical condition?

Here’s what the New Zealand Ministry of Health says,

Depression is a mental illness.. [it] can range from being a mild illness, to a severe one – where you can lose interest in life and the things you used to enjoy.

Some of the signs of depression:

  • feeling tired all the time
  • getting too much sleep or not enough
  • feeling worthless and helpless
  • thinking about death a lot
  • having no energy and feelings of low self-esteem
  • loss of appetite or overeating
  • sadness or emotional ‘numbness’
  • loss of pleasure in everyday activities
  • irritability or anxiety
  • poor concentration
  • feeling guilty, or crying for no apparent reason.

source: http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/mental-health/depression

Do we condone suicide in New Zealand?

No. We actively campaign against it.

Suicidal thoughts are a key symptom of depression.

What’s Euthanasia?
Asking someone else [a physician] to intervene and take your life because you are unable to do so yourself.

“… a rose. By any other name, would smell as sweet.”
~ Rom
eo and Juliet, Act II Scene II

Are there other solutions to this problem?

We need to stop victimising people facing ‘unbearable pain’ or ‘extenuating circumstances’ and reach out in love.

Think differently. Look for alternative solutions and, if you can’t find one, make one!

Did you catch the story in Stuff that came out the day after the bill was pulled from the ballot?

Husband’s ingenious solution to his wife’s loss of mobility

John Darnley says the first time he rolled down the street with Avis on the front of his bike, she loved it. Photo: Kevin Stent / Fairfax Media

“There was a time when visitors would come for miles just to chat with Avis Darnley.

But as Parkinson’s disease has melted away the muscles in her jaw and throat, left her in a wheelchair and stolen her ability to speak, life has got smaller.

Most days she was left with just her front room, her television, and husband John.

Until John decided it was time they both got on with living.”

John and Avis Darnley’s story demonstrates that there can be creative solutions to improving one’s quality of life.

Here’s another article, this time from the USA, about a man who takes an unconventional approach by taking care for his elderly neighbour. Their story reminds me of ‘the good Samaritan’. California Man Cares for Ailing 89-Year-Old Neighbour and Best Friend in Her Final Days: ‘Kindness Heals.

Hospice New Zealand have a lot to say on this issue.

Hospice New Zealand does not support a change in the law to legalise assisted dying in any form. Nor do we consider that a change in the law would be in the best interests of the people we care for.

We believe Government should be investing in palliative care, increasing access to care and support not legalising euthanasia. Only when all New Zealanders have ready access to expert end-of-life care can a balanced debate begin. We support that all New Zealanders have the right to choose where they die.

The Nathaniel Centre played an instrumental role during the previous attempt to legalise Euthanasia in New Zealand.

It goes without saying that Family First will play a very public role in this debate, and that Maxim Institute to provide well-researched information for the country to consider.

I’ll close with a final thought by Maxim’s CEO Alen Penk,

David Seymour’s private member’s bill is based on an illusion. It assumes that it’s possible to create safeguards around assisted suicide practices that can prevent wrongful deaths. However, international evidence has shown that there is no reliably safe way to legalise euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Need more clarification around the euthanasia debate?

Check out this resource by John Kleinsman

Examples of actions which are not euthanasia are often used to argue for law change which is euthanasia.
This brief article aims to clarify some of the terms and issues in the hope that we can prevent this from happening.

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