Our Guest Speakers certainly gave us something to think about as far as the ‘End of Life Choice’ referendum is concerned.
After many years of working in ‘hospice’ with palliative care, with at least 20 years running the Hastings Cranford Hospice, Dr. Libby Smales was certainly well qualified to speak on the subject. Heather Gregory, likewise, with her very personal story was also well qualified to give us a point of view.
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Dr. Libby said that during all her years in Hospice she learned a lot about dying and said that she found people were not so much scared of dying but of what happens leading up to death. She realised that the best palliative care in the world doesn’t stop suffering.
Heather said that her husband was kept alive using medical assistance but he died in terrible pain and suffering from no meaningful medical assistance available.
They told us that in NZ 52 people a year use suicide to end their lives due to extreme suffering.
Both also said that the proposed Act is very safe and has the necessary safeguards built into it. There is a lot of misinformation floating around but both speakers were very clear in their support for what is proposed in the ‘End of Life Choice Act’. Countries overseas with very similar laws to what is proposed in NZ, well-controlled legislation, report very positive feedback.