Euthanasia has been a controversial subject for as far back as l can remember and up until recently l was happy to sit back and let everyone else argue for and against it.
Sadly for me, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer in December 2014 and was told it was incurable and he had between 6 weeks and 6 months to live.
As wonderful as medical advancement is, there seems to be nothing positive to come from the medical world when it comes to lung cancer. Yes they can “TREAT” you but they can not cure you (most cases)
My dad was told that if he took the chemotherapy he could possibly live for 6 x months, but if he did not take the chemo he would likely succumb to the illness within 6 weeks.
Yes my dad did take the chemotherapy but unfortunately it had no positive effect what so ever and it actually made him worse. He was tired and sleepy from the chemo and that nasty cancer was continuing to grow as fast as ever.
My mum cared for dad at home with the wonderful help of palliative care nurses who would come around once a day to help organise the daily pain relief medications etc etc.
Dad was in immense pain and pretty much bed ridden for the final 4 or so weeks of his life and l do remember him saying to me that if he had the money he would go see Doctor Nitschke… In other words dad would have preferred to die peacefully and with dignity than to die slowly, painfully and remain a full time job for mum for those final few weeks.
My mum did do an amazing job and she did care for dad right up until dads final week. As the pain became too intense and my dad was suffering from morphine toxicity, the doctor and nurses encouraged both my parents to accept the fact that dad needed to be cared for in a hospital environment where they could better manage the pain and administer heavier medications and more often.
I remember visiting dad in the Werribee Mercy Hospital. He was looking terrible and was heavily sedated. Dad was able to talk a little, but at times he was very difficult to understand and it was obvious that the pain killers where killing the pain but also killing everything else.
Dad was extremely restless and unable to get comfortable. His legs were bone covered by skin, he had no strength at all and he really had no hope and no life. If l could have ended it for him peacefully l would have……. but what could l do ? Well l could do nothing… nothing at all.. My poor dad was simply waiting to die and while he waited he was forced to suffer…. and suffer… and bloody suffer!
When ever dad became restless the nurse would come in and simply administer another needle (for the pain). I did say to one of the nurses who gave dad yet another pain killer, “YOU ARE SLOWLY KILLING MY DAD” she looked at me a little strangely and l guess she was shocked at what l had just said……. I went on to say “IT’S OK, I AM NOT HAVING A GO AT YOU” she looked a little more comfortable with what l was saying. I continued “EACH INJECTION YOU GIVE MY DAD FOR HIS PAIN & RESTLESSNESS IS SLOWLY KILLING HIS ORGANS”………….. Hence l added ” YOU ARE KILLING MY DAD SLOWLY, UNDER THE DISGUISE OF PAIN RELIEF, WHEN YOU SHOULD ACTUALLY BE ALLOWED TO DO IT QUICKLY”
After 8 long days in the hospital my dad passed away. While it is claimed that my dad died of Lung Cancer, the truth is he died from a slowly administered overdose of pain relief………. Basically that is the closest we have to legal Euthanasia!
Yes l am all for Euthanasia under the right circumstances. If you are able minded and wish to end your life peacefully and with dignity and you are suffering from a terminal illness, you should be able to make that choice.
There are many other cases which would need to be worked through, i.e. where someone is unable to make that choice…. should the family be able to make that decision? Well l do not know about that one, but it should not stop us from improving the laws to enable a portion of our society to make the right decision for themselves.
We can put our pets to sleep when they are sick…… we can even put our pets to sleep when they are healthy. We live in a society which allows abortion and we live in a world where war and conflict is commonly occurring and young men and women (very healthy & fit people) can enlist themselves into the army, navy or air force and may well end up dead….. so why on earth can we not be permitted to make the choice to die with dignity and to die without prolonged pain and suffering?
Once again it just shows how out of touch our governments have become. To think that the November Federal election had a referendum on Councils getting more power…… yet the option of people having a little more control of how they would like deal with a terminal illness never got a thought.