End Of Life Choice Calls On Terminally Ill Sufferers To Ask For Help – Despite Covid

Credit: Original article can be found here

Assisted dying in New Zealand becomes a legal choice from
this coming Sunday, just as our health system is being
increasingly overwhelmed by Covid.

End-of-Life Choice
Society President, Dr Mary Panko, is worried that terminally
ill patients who want to end their suffering may now
hesitate to ask their doctor for help for fear of adding to
the medical burden.

Dr Panko recognises it’s an
awkward time for the new legislation to come into force, but
she says “Anyone who fits the criteria of being terminally
ill, diagnosed to die within six months, and suffering
unbearably, please don’t be put off. Be brave, ask for
assistance and if you are not getting it, come to us. We are
here to help. The End-of-Life Choice Society continues to
provide public education and information on its website at

highlight the eligibility criteria, how to express a request
for assisted dying and what to do if your doctor turns out
to be a conscientious objector.”

Dr Panko says
“the new law brings enormous peace of mind for those whose
dying would otherwise be protracted, terrifying, agonising
or dehumanising. They can now ask a doctor to help them die
earlier thus avoiding days, weeks or perhaps months of
unbearable suffering.”

Aotearoa New Zealand has
around 35,000 deaths each year. Of these, it is expected
only 1% or 2% will meet the eligibility criteria for
assisted dying. “Our eligibility criteria are very strict,
much stricter than in, say, Belgium, the Netherlands or
Canada. We have strong safeguards and protocols to ensure
scrutiny and oversight both before and after the assisted

“As it happens, today, 2 November is World
Right-to-Die Day – celebrated each year by the World
Federation of Right-to-Die Societies. Around 250 million
people worldwide are now covered by assisted dying laws and
that number is growing. People will no longer be fobbed off
with false promises that palliative care can relieve
suffering for everyone if only enough money is put towards
it. Data-driven and anecdotal evidence from around the world
show that it simply cannot.”

“We thank our
politicians for changing the law, New Zealanders for voting
to endorse the legislation at the 2019 referendum, and most
importantly we thank our medical workforce for their
compassion and willingness to help those of us who would
otherwise face a tortured

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