Palmer proposes euthanasia law

The Herald reports:

Former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer has come up with a proposed law change that would allow doctors in limited situations to help terminally ill patients to die.

It would require seven conditions to be met and would involve the Family Court as a means of verifying the conditions.

“My own view is that it is desirable to proceed with caution in this area and not to go further than the circumstances warrant.”

He set out his proposal at Parliament tonight in a lecture in memory of Lecretia Seales whose husband, Matt Vickers, launched a book “Lecretia’s Choice.”

Palmer once worked with Lecretia Seales who died of brain cancer last year. …

Palmer, a former president of the Law Commission, is proposing an amendment to the Crimes Act which would allow a person to be lawfully provided with medical assistance in dying where:

• (a) the person is of at least 18 years of age and capable of making decisions;
• (b) the person is a permanent resident of New Zealand;
• (c) the person has consented in writing to receive such assistance before two independent witnesses;
• (d) two medical practitioners have certified that the person has a grievous and incurable medical condition;
• (e) the medical condition is causing enduring suffering that is intolerable to the person in his or her circumstances and condition;
• (f) the facts have been reviewed by the Family Court and a judge has certified that the criteria laid down in the law have been met; and
• (g) there is a medical practitioner prepared to provide the assistance approved by the court.

Palmer said the proposal had the advantage of avoiding health professional having to take responsibility for decisions about whether the person should be permitted to die.

Looks like a proposal with maximum safeguards, which is good.

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