SA not ‘educated enough’ for euthanasia

2016-11-04 18:03
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Bloemfontein - South Africans are not ready for the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia, the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) argued in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein on Friday.

The HPCSA fears euthanasia can be abused in South Africa, because of the power imbalance in doctor-patient relationships.

The HPCSA is one of four parties appealing against a judgment by the High Court in Pretoria, handed down on April 30 last year.

The court handed down an order allowing terminally ill Robin Stransham-Ford, 65, to administer a lethal agent to himself or have a medical practitioner assist him, without the threat of prosecution or disciplinary proceedings.

He died about two hours before the verdict was handed down.

People who were terminally ill were not only vulnerable because of their disease. Lower levels of education caused an even greater power imbalance in their relationship with their doctors.

In developed countries such as the Netherlands, Canada, and the US state of Oregon, voluntary euthanasia is legal.

"In our community, there are people, including doctors, who will do anything for money and would not hesitate to abuse this power imbalance between doctor and patient for financial gain.

"The prohibition of voluntary euthanasia protects the vulnerable and society against this evil."

Advocate C H Bergen and A J D'Oliveira presented argument on behalf of the HPCSA.

 

Read more on:    legislation  |  health

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