Help not harm, says oncologist
Dr Melissa James was moved this week to share a story in Stuff about the opposed Act. She is an oncologist who has been treating patients for over 20 years.
"I do not often speak in public forums or give my opinions on issues, but I am so concerned with the implications of the End of Life Choice Act that I feel the need to speak out and share my story," she writes.
"The other day I phoned a patient to discuss the options for treatment of her cancer and she pleaded with me not to deny her treatment. 'I know I may have terminal cancer and I am older but I have so much to live for; please allow me to have treatment,' she said. I reassured her that she would be given any treatment that was suitable for her."
It's easy for patients to feel that somehow, they are not as worthy as others to receive treatment.
Melissa reports that in Oregon some 59% of patients who requested assisted suicide in 2019 gave 'being a burden to their family' as one of their reasons.
"Currently my patients know that whatever their station in life, their age, gender, sexuality or ethnicity, I will do all in my power to support life, promote life, enhance life and when life is ebbing away, relieve symptoms and provide support.
"As long as the current laws stand, my patients do not have to fear the fact that I also hold the power to legally end their life.
"We must think carefully about these things in deciding our response in the referendum."