“Euthanasia advocate Dr Rodney Syme hit the headlines this week when he admitted helping Steve Guest to commit suicide with the drug Nembutal in 2005,” FamilyVoice national research officer Ros Phillips said today.
“Most people may not realise that Dr Syme admitted exactly the same thing in 2008, on the ABC’s 7.30 Report. Then, as now, he was hoping to goad parliament into legalising euthanasia. That did not happen, for good reason.”
Ros Phillips said that Steve Guest was dying from oesophageal cancer, but refused the palliative care that could have led to a peaceful, dignified death. Instead, he wanted to use his painful condition to campaign for euthanasia.
“I suspect that Steve Guest had little idea of the impact of legal euthanasia on the morale of the rest of the community,” Ros Phillips said. “What he called his ‘choice to die’ would rapidly become a ‘duty to die’ for the weak, the elderly and the marginalised.
“No supposed safeguards built into euthanasia legislation have been able to prevent abuse. Belgium, for example, legalised euthanasia in 2002. It is already slipping down the slope as medical staff ignore the rules. Belgium legalised euthanasia for children in February, and some intensive care doctors are now backing legal involuntary euthanasia,” Ros Phillips said.
“Steve Guest did not need Nembutal to die in peace. Good palliative care, not intentional killing, is the most compassionate solution to his problem.”
- Human life and dignity