Australian mother, cancer patient the first to die under Victoria's Voluntary Assisted Dying law

  • 05/08/2019

A mother-of-two has become the first person in Australia to use voluntary assisted dying laws to end her life.

The 61-year-old cancer patient was granted a permit under Victoria's new legislation, and her family says she died with dignity. 

Kerry Robertson's daughters, Nicole and Jacqui Hicks, see their mother as a remarkable, brave woman - until the very end.

"The terminal diagnosis for us was far harder than her decision to have a voluntary assisted death," Jacqui told 7News.

Three weeks ago, Robertson died peacefully in a Bendigo nursing home. She made Australian medical history as the first person to utilise Victoria's new voluntary-assisted dying law.

The doting mother and grandmother was diagnosed in 2010 with breast cancer, which later metastasised into her bones.

The Voluntary Assisted Dying Act came into effect on June 19, 2019. Robertson saw her doctor that very day, beginning a process of three face-to-face meetings involving two doctors, then two independent witnesses.

Each person had to verify that she wasn't being coerced and that Robertson wanted help to end her life.

"I think one of the most important and special parts of this was that mum was able to plan her death," says Jacqui Hicks.

After the permit was granted, a state pharmacist delivered the first medical kit of its kind on July 15.

Robertson insisted on using the medical kit the same day it was delivered.

"She was absolutely ready," says her daughters.

Robertson did not hesitate. She held her girls' hands and said goodbye.

Newshub / 7News. 

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