By Natalie Macdonald
A former politician believes there’ll be a ‘subtle pressure’ for sufferers to use voluntary assisted dying services if it becomes law.
The claim was made by Peter Abetz the current State Director of the Australian Christian Lobby and former MP.
“Palliative care has now progressed to the point where there really is absolutely no excuse for anybody dying in agony in this day and age… if people are dying in agony, it’s medical incompetence,” said Abetz.
Doctor Scott Blackwell is a former president of the Australian Medical Association as wellas Palliative Care Association for W.A.
He currently sits on the panel of ministerial experts, which has been established to provide expert advice on the development of legislation for voluntary assisted dying.
Blackwell says that patients would need to go through a consultation process and be diagnosed with a condition that will bring about a death of unbearable suffering within the foreseeable future.
In order to be eligible patients will need to be adults of sound mind and make the decision voluntarily without any coercion.
There are currently only plans for patients to be eligible if they suffer from physical conditions.
“We would expect in Western Australia one percent [of all deaths] would probably be as high as it would get,” said Blackwell.
He thinks that most voluntary assisted deaths will be similar to those in Oregon, U.S., where 70% of deaths are from cancer sufferers.