A man who “begs for mercy” was only able to say two words before he died, his sister revealed as a euthanasia law is set to be passed in NSW.
One woman described her cancer-stricken brother’s painful final words as legislation that would legalize euthanasia in NSW is nearing a major milestone.
State legislation on voluntary assisted dying was due to pass in the upper house of parliament Wednesday night after a majority of lawmakers expressed their support.
The parliamentarians planned to discuss the bill at 7:30 pm and to vote two hours later.
Attorney Cathy Barry told reporters in parliament that her brother Tom “died begging for mercy” because assisted dying was not available in 2020 when he died of aggressive facial cancer.
“Tom died begging for mercy in the last weeks of his life, he could only say two words. One was ‘help’ and the other was ‘inhumane’, “he said.
“That’s why I’m here today because I can’t stand the thought that another person in NSW is going through that suffering.
“Tom had good palliative care … but no matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t stop his terrible suffering.”
If converted into law, the bill would bring NSW into line with all other states in legalizing voluntary euthanasia for people with incurable medical conditions who are less than 12 months old.
Opponents have expressed concern that people may feel compelled to end their lives if the bill is passed and argue that the state should not have the right to kill anyone.
Proponents said it would give the terminally ill more control over their own lives and deaths.
“There is a declared and clear majority, and this bill will pass,” said independent MP Alex Greenwich, who was instrumental in moving the bill forward.
“It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when, and I ask my colleagues in the upper house to make sure they work constructively with me and other colleagues to facilitate the passage of this legislation.”
If there are any amendments, they will be dealt with on the following Wednesday and, assuming they are accepted, the bill will again be passed to the lower house.
Once the bill becomes law, NSW Health will have 18 months to implement it, meaning people who would be eligible for voluntary assisted dying will not be able to access it until at least the end of next year.
Greenwich urged lawmakers opposed to the bill not to table “hostile amendments” to block the bill from being passed.
“It is not just the bill that they are prolonging, and it is not just the bill that they are delaying – they are prolonging people’s pain and suffering … they are playing with people’s lives and playing with people’s deaths. “, he said.
A coalition of religious elder care providers said Wednesday that if the bill is passed, it should have a provision so that homes where staff oppose assisted dying can refuse to help make it happen.
“If assisted voluntary dying is to be voluntary for the public, then any VAD scheme should be voluntary for clinical staff and medical officers and the organizations they work for,” a joint statement from HammondCare, Anglicare and Catholic Health Australia said. .
“We ask (upper house MPs) not to create unnecessary divisions by allowing the assisted death of residents a precondition for providing care for the elderly in this state.”
Originally published as Assisted voluntary death: the last two agonizing words of man