position statement

DWDQ aims to have laws introduced in Queensland to allow persons who meet strict criteria to legally access medical assistance to end their life should this be their request.

This is consistent with the longstanding, overwhelming majority support by Queensland residents for Voluntary Assisted Dying.

DWDQ believes the following eligibility criteria and safeguards should apply.

The person making the request must:

  1. Be aged at least 18 years or over. Younger people may be eligible under exceptional circumstances.
  2. Be ordinarily resident in Queensland.
  3. Make two requests to a medical practitioner or a VAD trained registered nurse for assistance to die. These requests may be either oral or written. At least one of the requests should be made with only the person and the doctor or the VAD trained registered nurse present.
  4. Be assessed by two independent medical practitioners with advanced qualifications who agree that the person is experiencing grievous and irremediable suffering related to an advanced and progressive terminal or chronic or neurodegenerative condition that cannot be alleviated in a manner acceptable to the person.
  5. Have been fully informed of available treatment options.
  6. Make a third request to a medical practitioner or a VAD trained registered nurse to re-confirm the request for assistance to die once all the above conditions have been met.

DWDQ recommends that the person controls the choice between self-administration of life ending medication or requesting health professional assistance to do so.

If there is any question as to the person’s mental competency, their ability to make an informed decision must be confirmed by two doctors.

The person can withdraw their request at any time.

Participation by medical practitioners, nurses, other medical personnel and institutions would be voluntary. If any of the above are unwilling to be involved then the person must be informed immediately. Once the person has been informed, referral to medical staff and/or facilities that are prepared to offer VAD services, must occur within 24 hours.

DWDQ endorses the position of Dementia Australia and strongly advocates for the development of dementia specific Advance Health Directives which would empower a person with full mental capacity to authorize their rational request to receive medical assistance to die in the event of them developing irreversible advanced dementia in the future.

Disclaimer: These conditions outline DWDQ’s current position, but they may alter in the future.

Signed

Jos Hall (DWDQ President)  16 October 2020

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