Allied Medical Professionals for Assisted Dying
We are a national campaign and membership organisation demanding greater choice and control to alleviate end of life suffering. We need your support to stop unnecessary suffering at the end of life. Help us by joining the campaign and spreading the word.
Right-to-Die in the Spotlight
DignitySA is hosting the World Federation of Right to Die Societies' 22nd biennial conference in Cape Town and we invite all interested parties to attend on the 7th and 8th of September.
Go to this link to find out more or to register. www.assisteddying2018.com
Why the law on assisted dying needs to change.
- For some people, palliative care cannot address their concerns about losing control and dignity. This is not a failure of palliative care, nor is it an either/or issue. The two are not in conflict.
- Many terminally ill people suffer terribly in the last weeks and days at the end of their lives.
- A humane society needs to put an end to unnecessary suffering, and give dying adults the legal choice of an assisted death.
- Only 4% of adults have access to palliative care in SA. Only ten public hospitals offer it.
What is assisted dying?
- Assisted dying allows mentally competent adults who are terminally ill or suffering intractably from an incurable, debilitating disease the choice to control their death.
- Despite the 2015 High Court victory on behalf of Robin Stransham-Ford, Judge Fabricius' ground-breaking ruling was overturned at appeal as Robin had died hours before the ruling.
- A new matter is being brought before the courts on behalf of Dr Sue Walter, a palliative care specialist with multiple myaloma and Dieter Harck, who is living with MND. DignitySA will be intervening in the matter on behalf of all South Africans.
How we campaign.
- DignitySA is a not for profit membership organisation.
- We work hard to keep DignitySA and the campaign to legalise assisted dying in the media spotlight.
- We make the heartbreaking stories of the unnecessary but unbelievable suffering of adults at the end of life heard.
- An enormous public awareness campaign is on the cards.
What the Assisted Dying Bill would mean for patients
Dying patients who want to control the timing of their death at present have to:
- Refuse treatment
- Voluntarily stop eating and drinking (which can be a slow process and involve prolonged suffering)
- Travel to Switzerland with a loved one or ask them to assist in another way (which risks prosecution for assisting the patient to die)
- Attempt suicide in unsafe and unregulated conditions
These options contain no adequate, upfront safeguards.
Under the proposed law, after making the request patients could withdraw it at any point in the process. This withdrawal could be made in writing or by simply speaking to their doctor.
With a change in the law, dying adults would have a safe, legal option for controlling the manner
and timing of their death.
- An assisted dying law would provide up-front safeguards in end-of-life decision making, ensuring that the patient is at the heart of the process
- Any healthcare professional would have the right not to participate in the process on the grounds of conscientious objection
- It would be rare for a dying patient to raise the issue of assisted dying and the number of actual requests would be very small - occurring only once every five to six years per GP practice
- An assisted dying law would give dying adults peace of mind that they will have choice if their suffering becomes unbearable – it would not result in more people dying, but in fewer people suffering
For a wonderful resource on how an assisted dying law would work in practice for healthcare professionals and patients, go the the link below.
AMPAD came into being after a likeminded organisation, domiciled in the United Kingdom – Dignity in Dying UK – kindly gave us permission to emulate their own initiative, namely HPAD – Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying, as a paradigm for DignitySA.
You may also want to have a look at (or download) a collection of “Statements of Supporters” – kindly provided to DignitySA by Dignity in Dying UK: Statements-of-Supporters.pdf (31 KB)
DignitySA is indebted to Dignity in Dying UK – thank you very much!