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End of life care: my life my death my choice

By Bill Alcock - posted Thursday, 4 December 2014

With reference to the article "A failure of moral leadership".

I am an 88 year old EDA veteran affairs pensioner I have recently arrived home from Prince of Wales hospital where I had open heart surgery. I have several other failing parts and I am scared stiff that I may be confined indefinitely in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimer's, dementia, incontinence and the like.

I have just had check up from the cardiologist and he said to me you know Bill you were born in 1925 you are past your use by date , your heart has suffered a lot of damage so you must accept the fact that your end is nigh.


When the end is nigh it is best to avoid hospital. The health system is geared to actively treating patients and prolonging life not to recognize the dying.

There are thousands of patients in hospitals and nursing homes with no quality of life lingering on indefinitely awaiting the blessing of death to release them from their despair.

When quality of life is lost and the sufferer is confined to care with Alzheimer's, dementia, incontinence and the like palliative care is definitely not enough.

When our pets lose quality of life the vet eases them out in a dignified manner why not humans?

I find it very difficult to believe that anyone with an ounce of compassion can deny those who have lost quality of life be it degeneration or terminal illness the right to make a choice for a dignified and peaceful death provided this has been documented in an advance health care directive whilst of sound mind.

If ever I am unfortunate enough to be placed in the same situation I hope there is a sympathetic doctor around to end my life in a dignified and peaceful manner.


In light of the Governments unsympathetic attitude I have no option but to direct in my advance health care directive that if I should lose quality of life I do not want any medical treatment that will prolong my life and I do not want any further sustenance or fluid. Although it will take me a few days to die this option is better than the alternative. It would give me great peace of mind if I could get medical assistance to die in a dignified manner if I should lose quality of life.

It is my firm opinion that enforced prolonged life when quality of life is lost is a fate far worse than death, I fear degeneration far more than I fear death, it is inhumane to leave those who have lost quality of life, whether it be degeneration or terminal illness that leaves them confined in a nursing home indefinitely suffering from dementia, Alzheimer's, incontinence and the like.

Times have changed in my grandparents day there were no nursing homes my parents cared for them at home , the family doctor every other week to check on them issue scripts and when they lost quality of life he asked for a family conference and was given permission to ease them out with analgesics. It was not called euthanasia but rather compassion.

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About the Author

Bill Alcock is a retired town clerk and Veterans Affairs pensioner with an interest in euthanasia. Bill lives in Port Maquarie and can be contacted at

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