by Alex SchadenbergInternational Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
The New Zealand government Health Select Committee is currently gathering evidence as it considers the issues of euthanasia and assisted suicide.
According to Newshub the New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA), representing 5500 medical professionals, stated that it opposes changing the law to allow euthanasia.
Stacey Kirk with Stuff New Zealand reported that Dr Stephen Child, chair of the NZMA said:
"the scope for error was too large when weighed against the outcome."
"This is an irreversible decision in which the consequences are final."
Dr Child argued that doctors are not always right in forming a patient's prognosis. According to Newshub Dr Child stated:
"10 to 15 percent of diagnoses are incorrect, and three percent of diagnoses of cancer are incorrect,"
"We're not always right in diagnosis, and we're not always right in prognosis.
"In principle and in practice, the association does not support a change in the legislation."
Dr Child told Stacey Kirk of Stuff New Zealand:
"We also believe in the right of the administration of... pain relief and other medications, for the purpose of relieving pain and suffering, even if the secondary consequence of that treatment may hasten death,"
"Decisions however are often influenced by circumstance, by fear of what the future might hold, by concern for loved ones and by societal expectations, which can cause direct and indirect coercion in decison-making."
Radio New Zealand, reported that Not Dead Yet Aotearoa stated to the health committee that:
people with disabilities suffered from negative attitudes, and voluntary euthanasia would add to that.
The New Zealand Parliament's Health Select Committee is hearing oral submissions based on receiving more than 1800 responses form New Zealanders and organisations on the issue of euthanasia, out of a record of 21,435 submissions.