An Australian woman, who’ll be among the first persons to get euthanized under Victoria’s new laws, has spoken up.
Margaret Radmore was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer. She says having control on her death is a ‘huge relief’ for her.
The woman, who has been a nurse for more than four decades, was given one year to live after her cancer started spreading to her liver.
She is expected to be among those dozen Victorians who will be given lethal drugs in the first year of the new euthanasia scheme.
Radmore stopped her chemo treatments in March this year and decided to ‘let nature take its course.’
‘One of my very first thoughts when I was given my diagnosis, is the terror of anticipating a bad death,’ Radmore said, adding how the hopes of a good death bring comfort to her.
‘When this legislation was passed it was a huge relief to me,’ she said.
‘I am perfectly comfortable with my fate and it is a very sad thing to be living through but the fact that I have control at the end is really important to me.
‘I might not even use the medication but just knowing it is there. I am really keen to start the process to have the kit because then I can just put it in the cupboard and just get on with living.’
The new laws have made Victoria the first Australian state to allow euthanasia for terminally ill persons.
According to initial estimates, four people per week will be allowed to put an end to their lives under the new laws.
Patients, who get access to the fatal drugs held at The Alfred hospital, will have to undergo strict criteria. More than 100 doctors are undergoing training to get prepared for the procedure.
Under the assisted dying scheme, patients will be euthanized only if they possess a sound mind and they suffer from a condition which can take their life within 12 months.
In the case of neuro-degenerative conditions, this time period has been reduced to six months.
Victoria’s government said they have placed more than 68 checks to make sure that only eligible patients get access to the procedure.
Euthanasia will become legal in Australia for the first time under the new laws.
The Northern Territory previously legalized euthanasia over 20 years ago but the Federal Parliament reverted the laws and made the procedure illegal again.
Speaking to reporters, premier Daniel Andrews said it’s been a long journey for activists who have been calling for ‘more dignified, more compassionate choices at the end of a person’s life.’
‘Ultimately this is about giving to Victorians – who have a terminal illness and are in the terminal phase of that illness and have unbearable pain and suffering – the option, the dignifying choice,’ he added.
However, the assisted dying laws have also met severe opposition from several groups.
Pro-Life Victoria who says the new laws will ‘legitimize suicide’ for vulnerable people and will devalue palliative care’ has already decided to stage a mass protest outside parliament on Tuesday night.
Four Victorian bishops – from Melbourne, Ballarat, Sale, and Sandhurst – signed a letter which said the new laws will start ‘a new, and deeply troubling chapter of health care.’
‘We cannot cooperate with the facilitation of suicide, even when it seems motivated by empathy or kindness,’ the letter said.