I have made my submission to the Health Select Committee which is considering the issue of assisted dying following the brave stand by Lecretia Seales. It’s weird to make a submission like that when you are actually dying – very relevant and confronting. It makes you ask: “What do I want for my death?”
It’s an important question that all of us should ask at some stage.
I could let myself die now. I could refuse treatment quite lawfully and die rather quickly. Instead I am trying to live, which is actually what most terminally ill people want – we don’t actually want to die – but if we have to then we want to do it peacefully and some of us may want tools to help when it is not going to happen naturally. …
While there is lots of awful physical stuff going on, the time I have been given to deal with the social stuff is precious and important to me and I think to others. Dying slowly, I think has a big advantage. But at some point that “party” will have to end and the tough social and physical bit will need to be addressed.
What do I want? Why can’t I continue to choose treatments that allow me to consider my own priorities? If I am at the point where those priorities can no longer be maintained and all I have left is the painful dying bit, why can’t I have the option of assisted dying, given the alternative is to turn up the morphine and hope? A natural death is out of the question.
No one wants to die. But when death is inevitable, people like Helen Kelly should be able to choose to reduce any suffering in the final days.
I hope the Committee looks at this through the eyes of a dying person and their family. No family wants anyone to suffer and many people would not want to go on living in a state where they are unable to live a reasonable life with genuine choices. It’s time for New Zealand to make this option available in a regulated fashion.
I agree with Helen Kelly on this.