Newsletter for the Rotary Club of Geraldton Greenough - Issue No.: 577 Issue Date: 25 May, 2020

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The Doc informally presents.

Voluntary Assisted Dying and Palliative Care

This morning we had a very informative and enlightening discussion with Doc on “Assisted Dying and Palliative Care”. Probably one of the best sessions we have ever had !!

Doc is writing this bit ! (Thanks Geoff!)

Background, mine, not what Di sent to Peter!!

Lived in Geraldton for 35 years.

GP/anaesthetist/Obstetrician with interest in Palliative Care

Rotarian 27 years, PP 1995-96, mad photographer (no kidding!), loves cruising, (the next 3 are booked!)

Married to Di 38 years, 3 kids, 6 grandkids.


Why do you think a person may wish to end their life and request euthanasia?


  1. LOSS

  2. Loss of function

  3. Loss of control and dignity

  4. Loss of meaning, self, identity, becoming uselessness “waste of space”

  5. FEAR

    Fear of the dying process (of self and others)

  6. Fear of imminent death (inevitability, alone-ness, a dark tunnel)

  7. Death seen as thje only way to end feelings of suffering and oppression


  • Despair “Let me out of here"

  •  To gain Control:

  • Death as an act of altruism “Better off without me”

  • In desperation, asking for death can be a cry for help and for “immediate action” (help to find another way)

  • Finding “control” through an exit plan


  • My Concerns:

    Need for strict guidelines and procedures to ensure a person makes an informed decision having been offered all the alternatives. It is about choice!

    Risk of Coercion

    (Making the elderly and suffering feel worthless, elder abuse “Getting Granny’s money”)

    One of the large single rooms in the PC unit. Note the extra space for reletives to stay overnight.

The garden, PC Unit, SJOG Hospital Geraldton. Our RC helped fund this in 1996

Euthanasia is likely to be much cheaper for the health care budget than palliative care.

Canadian Model: euthanasia is considered part of normal medical end of life care, doctors who practice “Hippocratic” medicine risk being considered substandard. Palliative Care units must also offer lethal injections in Canada. Doctors not comfortable with this are not taking up palliative care as a career.

What is the alternative? What is Palliative Care?

  • Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems - physical, psychosocial and spiritual

  • Good PC involves caring for the person dying as well as their families. It is one of the most rewarding part of my practice. It is also about choice. It is critical that people facing death have the choice of high quality palliative care, and don’t have to fall back on assisted dying because PC is not available to them. Those last few weeks with family and friends can be very precious.

    Geraldton is a unique little island with an excellent community palliative care service supported by GPs, the PC Unit and staff at SJOG, and visiting specialists. Other parts of WA are not so lucky. It is sad that many aboriginal people are unable to die “on country” due to lack of available PC remotely.


    Author: Ian Taylor

    Published: 1 December, 2018


    Meeting Rosters
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    Setup & Door
    Guest Speaker Host
    Invocation & Toast
    Raffle & Rotary Cor
    Guest Speaker Thanks
    Fines Master
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