PUBLIC MEETING: Information session by Dying with Dignity
PHIL Browne has had enough of seeing terminally ill patients suffer from unthinkable symptoms without a choice to end it.
The registered nurse of 36 years is a committee member of Dying with Dignity Queensland and is lobbying the State Government to allow voluntary medically-assisted dying.
Mr Browne said he saw hundreds of patients suffer throughout his nursing career and said, "there has to be a better way".
"Palliative care in Australia is world class, however it doesn't suit all patients in all situations," Mr Browne said.
"Sometimes symptoms just cannot be relieved and I don't have the right to tell one of my former patients this is the only pathway they have to accept.
"If they are saying to me 'I want options and I want the choice to have a calm and peaceful medically assisted death' I don't have the right to say 'well, you should be denied that'.
"And especially having seen patients, including some in the hospice, who have gone on day leave in the final days of their life and ended their life, many times potentially with assistance from a family member, which is illegal."
He said patients who were in pain could have their symptoms controlled through a combination of medications, but it was the ones who couldn't be helped who should have the right to end their suffering.
"We're talking about people for example, with a bowel obstruction who are going to die from the bowel obstruction anyway because they're not fit for surgery," he said.
"And that's on top of their terminal condition, and they have recurrent vomiting of faecal matter and when people have said to me, 'I'm vomiting s--t, aren't I?' Yes, they are.
"There's some people who say, 'look palliative care in the majority of cases is fine, but I don't want to be unconscious for seven days with no fluids and no food and die slowly of dehydration'.
"And I feel as a health practitioner and as a caring human, I don't have the right to say this must be the only legally available option for you."
"I believe there must be more compassionate choices and compassionate options."
Mr Browne is the Hervey Bay electorate co-ordinator of Dying with Dignity and will host a public information session at the Hervey Bay Library on July 20.
He said they'll be discussing the status of voluntary assisted dying in Australia and what members of the public can do to get a bill through Queensland Parliament for the first time.
"Around Australia, we've had something like 30 bills introduced to parliament," Mr Browne said.
"Many of those bills in very recent times have either lost by one vote, or have been a tie and the speaker voted it down.
"We'll be talking about the importance of letting our members of parliament know this is an important issue that's supported by up to 85 per cent of the community, as shown in multiple polls.
"We'll be encouraging people to take their personal stories, their lived experience of their loved one, and telling the MPs about why this an important issue to them and why they would like to see the legal option of voluntary assisted dying."
The free public information session will be held from 2-3pm on Friday, July 20, at the Hervey Bay Library, 161 Old Maryborough Rd, Pialba.