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Voluntary euthanasia: confronting death

Thomas F Sandeman
Med J Aust 2009; 190 (6): 311.
Published online: 16 March 2009

In facing the management and termination of intolerable situations, a caring doctor involved in alleviating the final agonies of patients can berate the legal system’s impotence and governmental procrastination. Oncologists are frequently confronted by situations involving the end of a painful existence. Most are now assisted by specialists in palliative care, often disempowered by shortages of beds and frustrated by staff inadequately trained or less than sympathetic to the views of those who would like to see “physician-assisted by specialists in palliative care, often disempowered by shortages of beds and frustrated by staff inadequately trained or less than sympathetic to the views of those who would like to see “physician-assisted dying” as an alternative to only partially effective, cerebrally numbing analgesia. Cancer, of course, is not the only cause of a prolonged and tormented end to life. Some of the most distressing cases are associated with the neurological prisons that mean a fully conscious person is cut off from mobility, self-care, sensory input and communication.

  • Thomas F Sandeman

  • Melbourne, VIC

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