Simple question for those fighting End of Life Choice

LETTER

A question for political opponents of the Seymour bill.

It has recently been reported that the chief minister of Guernsey (one of the UK Channel Islands) has revealed plans for a state-funded programme to allow terminally ill patients, within strict guidelines, to end their own lives.

Gavin St Pier has come out in support of voluntary euthanasia after his father, Keith, died a prolonged and miserable death. He had been suffering from heart disease for three years and in 2008 he developed serious circulatory problems. After he developed ulcers in his right leg it was removed below the knee, but he developed an infection that affected his heart valves. He refused further treatment and went home to die. He became unable to move, speak, or feed himself and died in 2009 aged 77.

Mr St Pier said had his father been given the option to die he would have done so, weeks before he finally died.

“I was his main caregiver and by his bedside 24 hours a day for the last three days. By this stage he was no longer coherent. He was undoubtedly in distress and for his last days and hours he couldn’t breathe and would keep pulling his oxygen mask off while I had to keep putting it on again. He could no longer drink and his mouth was so parched he could only take a teaspoon of water at a time. His lips and mouth were dry and cracked. His tongue had also split. Eventually I watched as blood went into his catheter when his kidney failed. He was not in extreme pain because he was so zonked out on painkillers, and the doses of these just went up and up.”

Sometimes the simplest questions can be the most difficult for a politician to answer. So here’s one for the political opponents of David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill:

Should Gavin St Pier have kept replacing Keith’s oxygen mask after he had pulled it off? I doubt very much if Maggie Barry, Simon O’Connor or Ken Orr would have the courage to answer it.

Martin Hanson, Nelson

A question for political opponents of the Seymour bill.

It has recently been reported that the chief minister of Guernsey (one of the UK Channel Islands) has revealed plans for a state-funded programme to allow terminally ill patients, within strict guidelines, to end their own lives.

Gavin St Pier has come out in support of voluntary euthanasia after his father, Keith, died a prolonged and miserable death. He had been suffering from heart disease for three years and in 2008 he developed serious circulatory problems. After he developed ulcers in his right leg it was removed below the knee, but he developed an infection that affected his heart valves. He refused further treatment and went home to die. He became unable to move, speak, or feed himself and died in 2009 aged 77.

Mr St Pier said had his father been given the option to die he would have done so, weeks before he finally died.

“I was his main caregiver and by his bedside 24 hours a day for the last three days. By this stage he was no longer coherent. He was undoubtedly in distress and for his last days and hours he couldn’t breathe and would keep pulling his oxygen mask off while I had to keep putting it on again. He could no longer drink and his mouth was so parched he could only take a teaspoon of water at a time. His lips and mouth were dry and cracked. His tongue had also split. Eventually I watched as blood went into his catheter when his kidney failed. He was not in extreme pain because he was so zonked out on painkillers, and the doses of these just went up and up.”

Sometimes the simplest questions can be the most difficult for a politician to answer. So here’s one for the political opponents of David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill:

Should Gavin St Pier have kept replacing Keith’s oxygen mask after he had pulled it off? I doubt very much if Maggie Barry, Simon O’Connor or Ken Orr would have the courage to answer it.

Martin Hanson, Nelson

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Julie Shand, Christchurch - 4 months ago
Each individual should be allowed the choice, it's that simple.

Jane Owen, Northland - 4 months ago
If it meant otherwise he died gasping for breath, then he should have put the oxygen mask back on. Euthanasia would have meant he could have gone peacefully. I cannot believe those against euthanasia have watched a loved one die in agony, but if they have then they have no empathy.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Are you happy with the level of enforcement of dog control regulations?