Select Committee on Euthanasia Submission No.1112 Tonti-Pilippini N
Tabled Paper 1622
Tabled Papers for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT
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4 2. It Is not euthanasia to withdraw treatment because the treatment itself is judged to be overly or disproportionately burdensome, risky or costly. That judgement is firstly made by a competent patient, acting with adequate medical advice and information, then by the incompetent patients family or plose friend or by a legally appointed representative (either a guardian or a person holding an enduring power of attorney for medical treatment2), then by the doctor; iI 3. It is not euthanasia to administer a treatment aimed at relieving pain as the directly intended effect even though the treatment may contribute to the cause of death, provided that there is no dther reasonable and available meians of relieving the pain and jhe treatment is not disproportionate. These 'traditional principles reflect and preserve respect for the subtlety and the complexity of human relationships and thus both uphold dignity while allowing humane decisions to be made. Euthanjasia is not just a matter between a doctor or doctors and a patientj. It is a matter that affects the whole community. That dpctors are given the authority to take the lives of their patientis and that this then becomes an option, albeit voluntary on the pah: of the patient, changes the character of the supportive environment that the sick and incapacitated need. To suspect that those providing your care may be entertaining the thought that perhaps you would be better off opting for death is not reassuring. In an environment in which euthanasia is not practiced and not supported by the community through its laws, those patients can be secure in the belief that what is being done and suggested is based Upon respect for the patients worth and value as a person, that thjere is no room for giving effect to the view that his or her life may be not worth living. Anyone who has been close to someone who has suicided, even if not knowing the person intimately, knows that the death has both social meaning and individual meaning for everyone in any way associated, even remotely, with the death. Deliberate suicide does not just end an individual biological life; it is an act of destruction which not only destroys that individual but negates all that he or she is and means within the community. When someone close to us dies, part of us and part of our community dies. When that destruction is deliberately chosen] our loss and our community's loss is not just of the person. In a significant way our common ideals and the enactment of them throug mature -> which our personalities are established, expressed and i, are damaged, warranting repair. 2. An enduring power of attorney for medical treatment is a power that is not available in the Northern Territory but was provided is Victoria by the Medical Treatm ent Act. That section of the Act is one which I can claim to have drafted. The provision of such a power is one which I would hope might be positively recommended by your enquiry. i