Doctors admit helping patients die

  • 13/07/2015
Doctors admit helping patients die

More than one in 10 doctors say they've helped a terminally ill patient die, a new survey has found.

The latest New Zealand Doctor/IMS FaxHealth poll has found 11.8 percent of doctors surveyed said they had assisted a patient's death, while another 1.8 percent declined to answer the question.

But the survey, published in New Zealand Doctor, also found only 44.5 percent of doctors thought they should have have some role assisting terminally ill patients die and 45.5 percent believed a law change was needed to allow the practice, with a similar amount opposing it.

However, 73.6 percent of those surveyed also said they had concerns a law about the right to die could be misused or manipulated.

The report's authors said many doctors expressed very outspoken views opposing assisted suicide and it would be a divisive issue among doctors even if a law was passed.

The poll had 110 responses and has a margin or error of 9.3 percent.

Parliament's health committee agreed to investigate views on voluntary euthanasia in June following a petition on the issue that collected 9000 signatures.

That followed the death of Wellington lawyer Lecretia Seals, who made a legal bid to allow her doctor to assist her in dying, but died hours before the appeal was rejected.

Prime Minister John Key has said any moves by Parliament on the assisted suicide issue will be a conscience vote.