7 Oct

Landmark decision for doctor assisted suicide

A unanimous decision from the Supreme Court today struck down the ban on “doctor assisted suicide”, or “doctor assisted death” as it is now referred too. The decision comes 21 years after the court upheld the original law against the practice.The landmark decision is giving parliament one year to draft new legislation, which recognizes the right of clearly consenting adults suffering from intolerable physical or mental pain to end their lives.“It’s my wish that at the end of my life when I determine, hopefully I can be the one to determine that I will have the assistance of a physician to end my life peacefully and with dignity.”Linda Jarrett has lived with MS for 16 years. The 66 year old says she is grateful for the life she has lead, but as someone dealing with a progressive disease the supreme court’s ruling brings absolute relief.“Before today’s decision I was left in that quandary that others before me have found themselves of having to possibly having to hasten their own death while they are still physically capable of doing so.”“I have Parkinson’s, had Parkinson’s disease for over 20 years, plus I’ve had a number of brutal back surgeries which has lead me to believe this is an option that should really be available to people.”Retired physician and Parkinson’s patient Philip Hebert says overturning the ban on doctor-assisted suicide allows patients to access the help they may need at the end of life.“My prognosis is things will get worse at some point, I don’t know when but I could imagine circumstances where things are so awful that I would want some assistance of dying yes. Hopefully it won’t be anytime soon.”“I think about the patients that I have seen there was so little that I could do for them where more and more and more and more morphine did nothing for them where I could see their suffering and they asked me for more and I couldn’t do more.”Dr. Brett Belchetz called today a victory for those people who will no longer be forced to endure prolonged and unnecessary suffering.“I’m happy to see that finally those people who are suffering irremediably and for whom palliative care is not enough to end that suffering there is an option for them.”

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