following Fact Sheet has been prepared by the South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia
Society (SAVES). For
further information visit their website at http://www.saves.asn.au
Voluntary Euthanasia Society
Fear of Abuse
6 - Any law permitting voluntary euthanasia
would be liable to abuse because
Relatives or others could collude with the doctor to murder the patient
for financial gain or to be rid of a nuisance, or
Patients could be, or could feel, pressured to ask for euthanasia when they
really wish to go on living.
1: The possibility of collusion to murder a frail, elderly and perhaps
fatally ill patient (or even to falsify the diagnosis) already exists. It
would not be increased when voluntary euthanasia is legalised because of the
requirement for a second independent medical opinion and a detailed report.
2: Voluntary euthanasia would not be euthanasia on demand, but based on
very careful medical assessment. Doctors would have to be satisfied that the
patient's condition was, for the patient, intolerable. They would also be
required to assess whether a patient's request was free as well as enduring.
The open discussion among those concerned (significant others and health care
workers) that would be part of this process would provide sound protection.
have no vested interest, professional or financial, in the death of a
patient. On the contrary, they make their living and gain kudos and professional
satisfaction from maintaining the health and well being of their patients
for as long as practicable.
desire not to be a burden on the State or one's loved ones is a legitimate
concern, and should not be mistaken as evidence of abuse.
supervised voluntary euthanasia under guidelines endorsed by the High
Court has been available in the Netherlands for more than ten years. There
have been no court cases arising from abuse of the type described above
and there continues to be strong public support there for voluntary euthanasia.
Thus the claim that its availablility will lead to abuse does not appear
to be well founded.
information contact SAVES at: http://www.saves.asn.au
contact: Hon Secretary, SAVES, PO Box 2151, Kent Town, SA 5071, Australia
- Fax + 61 8 8265 2287