Is it time to change the law?

Two doctors have come forward to ‘confess’ to helping terminally ill patients end their lives. Should they be charged or is it time to change the law on euthanasia?

In the first case, Dr Rodney Syme, a Melbourne urologist, provided a fatal drug to a 58-year-old man dying of oesophageal cancer and dared police to charge him over the incident. The second case centres on locum GP Dr Rogers who, 47 years ago, attended a friend who was suffering from lung cancer and nearing the end of his life.

Dr Rogers came forward in support of Dr Syme, who is the vice-president of Dying with Dignity Victoria.

While both doctors only gave access to the drugs, rather than administering them themselves, charges of inciting, aiding or abetting a suicide could be laid.

Doctors for Voluntary Euthanasia Choice, which has almost 100 doctors, including GPs, surgeons and specialists from around Australia as members, is calling for euthanasia to be legalised for terminally ill patients with symptoms which can no longer be tolerated.

Should both doctors be charged, or is it time to rethink the laws surrounding voluntary euthanasia?

Written by Debbie McTaggart