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Hospice specialists warn of wrongful deaths



Medical specialists who deal with death and dying are unwilling to administer euthanasia.


Senior palliative care specialists gathered last year in Parliament to warn against the End of Life Choice Bill, now the End of Life Choice Act.


All rejected legalised euthanasia, feared patients might be coerced into death, and considered doctors and nurses ill-equipped to evaluate a person's readiness to die.


Australia New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine chair Dr Saline Iupati​ said there were examples which demonstrated how wrongful deaths may occur. She had treated a fast-declining terminal woman with less than a year to live, who would have "ticked all the boxes under the most restrictive [euthanasia] bill".


"After a period of more than a year we asked for a review of the diagnosis, because she wasn't dying."


Organisations opposing the Act include Hospice New Zealand and Palliative Care Nurses New Zealand.


New Zealand's palliative care - which ranks third in the world - is well designed for people with terminal cancer and neuro-muscular disorders, said specialist Rob McLeod.


"There's a large cohort of people who are dying of heart failure, respiratory disease, dementia - in particular - who don't ever get referred to palliative care services."


These people were most vulnerable to coercion from family to end their life, which was impossible to identify, he said.


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Via Stuff

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