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Kiwis have 'blind spots' regarding Act - journalist

Speaking to RNZ and Newsroom, journalist and author Caralise Trayes warns there are still blind spots in many people's understanding of the End of Life Choice Act - especially when it comes to what's already legal in New Zealand.


When a patient is 'refusing treatment' or has a ‘do not resuscitate’ order, then medical professionals must not intervene in what is naturally occurring.


These actions are both already legal, says Trayes.


In a recent episode of The Detail, Emile Donovan spoke to journalist Caralise Trayes and researcher Dr Marta Rechter about the two referendums this year, and what they could mean for the future of cannabis and assisted dying in New Zealand.

The assisted dying referendum is binding - the cannabis referendum is not.

This means the legislation pertaining to assisted dying is all ready to go: it's been passed through Parliament and approved by a majority of MPs. The only question is whether the country wants to sign off on it.

"We're using this as such a strong, defining factor ... but it's not always accurate. There have been cases where doctors get prognoses very wrong." Caralise Trayes, author

Freelance journalist Caralise Trayes has written a book about the assisted dying referendum called The Final Choice.

She says there are still blind spots in many people's understanding of the legislation.

"Refusing treatment and ‘do not resuscitate’ orders require medical professionals not to intervene in what is naturally occurring. These are already legal.


"Euthanasia, assisted suicide or assisted dying requires a direct intervention with the intention to bring death.


"First up, you have to be eligible: you have to be over 18, you have to be a Kiwi citizen or permanent resident. You have to have a prognosis with less than six months to live. You must have an ongoing decline in physical capability and experience unbearable suffering which cannot be eased.


"You also need to be able to make an informed decision about dying."


A prognosis of six months or less to live would be made by a doctor - but making that judgment in the first place can be fraught.


"We're using this as such a strong, defining factor ... but it's not always accurate. There have been cases where doctors get prognoses very wrong."


Any mental health issues a person has would not be factored into whether a person's application was granted, Trayes says.


Hear the whole interview here

Via Newsroom

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