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Doctors For Life to oppose Dignity SA in assisted suicide court case
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Doctors For Life International (DFL) is aware of an application by Dignity SA and others to the High Court to consent to assisted suicide. DFL has instructed attorneys Robin Twaddle and Arno Bosch who have in return instructed advocates Reg Willis and Adrian d'Oliviera to oppose such an application. DFL has requested Dignity SA to sight DFL as a respondent. Dignity SA is representing Mr. Stransham-Ford and others. DFL has undertaken to bear its own costs and not seek costs from Dignity SA or any other party. DFL has yet to receive Dignity SA's papers.
DFL finds it perilously double minded of society to discourage suicide for teenage drug addicts while at the same time trying to justify suicide for another part of society. With legalized euthanasia or assisted suicide vulnerable people could be pressured and exploited into what amounts to capital punishment for the "crime" of being sick, old, disabled or dependent.
In countries where euthanasia has been legalized they have often lost track of lethal medication. 50% of suicide pills are not ingested by patients for whom they were intended. Revolutionary new info about how chemotherapy may influence a patient mentally and lead to the wrong decision has had a dramatic impact on how doctors review requests for doctor assisted suicide.
In countries or states where assisted suicide has been legalised it ends up legitimizing the use of plastic bags and toxic gasses to kill vulnerable people, pills could lead to complications and only a lethal injection or suffocation with a plastic bag could ensure death. Draft guidelines for its implementation in Oregon State recommended that family members should be warned that they may wish to leave the room when the patient is being assisted since the death may be very unpleasant to observe (lethal injections often cause violent convulsions and muscle spasms). There have been cases where patients totally recovered while the doctor had predicted them to be terminally ill. Other cases patients were given lethal medication that failed and had to be resuscitated and go through the process again in order to die.
DFL would like to draw your attention to the 2012 position paper of the South African Medical Association which states that;
In all instances, the action taken in bringing forth the result of death of a patient, will be deemed to be murder and will lead to a conviction for murder.
Section 9 of the Constitution provides every person in this country with the absolute right to life.
It is of extreme importance that no action be taken in this regard and the relevant management and authorities be informed.
Active Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide and Living Wills are illegal.
Do not engage in providing assistance in any manner which could be seen as assistance to expedite, as this will result in a sure conviction for murder.
Doctors for Life International is an organisation of 1400 medical doctors, specialists and professors of medicine from Medical Faculties in South Africa and abroad. DFL provides expert evidence on various issues of medical and medical-ethical importance. Since 1991 DFL has been actively promoting sound science in the medical profession and health care that is safe and efficient for all South Africans.
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