Sean Davison and Euthanasia

The Press editorial:

The anguish felt by Sean Davison this week was palpable. In 2006, Davison gave his terminally ill, 85-year-old mother a glass of crushed morphine tablets in water.

Patricia Davison, a former medical practitioner, was suffering from cancer and was in pain and distress. She had earlier tried to starve herself to death. When the authorities became aware of what Sean Davison had done from an early manuscript of Before We Say Goodbye, a book he later published on the last months of his mother’s life, he was charged with her attempted murder.

I know or knew Sean Davison. He was in fact the National Party candidate for Dunedin North in 1987 – my first election. I was the Regional Young Nats Chair. Sean was a lovely sincere guy.

Nothing I have read from the transcript of his trial has caused me to think any worse of him. I think he was a hugely loving son, who couldn’t bear to see his mother suffer. His crime, if you call it that, was putting her wishes above the law.

Stuff also has a profile of Sean:

By September 23, Pat had decided to go on a water-only diet

She was forced to try and starve herself to death, to stop her suffering.

He asked her emphatically if she wanted him to make her death wish come true.

She replied, “Please, I want you to help me die … you really are a good boy.”

On October 24 2006, the 33rd day on water only, Pat, despite a morphine drip, was in agony and implored her son to “bash me on the head”.

“I want to die tonight. I feel dreadful. I feel pain everywhere and I can hardly talk,” she told him.

No one should have to suffer like Pat Davison suffered. And no son should have to choose between the law and saving his mother from agony.

The law must be changed to allow euthanasia. A dying person should be able to die with dignity. Of course there must be the strongest safeguards around euthansia, but to do that we need to legalise it. By keeping it illegal, you merely push it underground and increase the chances of a malicious misuse.

I hope the next Parliament confronts the issue. It would be a conscience vote, and needs an MP or MPs to submit bills into the members ballot.

Numerous polls have shown that most New Zealanders support euthanasia being available as an option for the terminally ill. It’s time to change the law.

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