This article was published by HOPE Australia on October 26.
The Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency, the Medical Board, moved today (26th Oct) to curtail the suicide advocacy of Dr Philip Nitschke in creating an unprecedented 25 restrictions upon his licence to practice medicine.
This action is the culmination of a dozen complaints the agency had received, dating back almost four years, including one by the author over three years ago about the promotion of hypoxic death methods utilizing nitrogen gas.
Originally, the 12 complaints were to have been aired in medical tribunal hearings scheduled for Darwin (NT) in November. Nitschke admitted, in various news reports today that he had ‘reached an agreement’ with the medical board in September this year to accept the boards restrictions rather than facing ‘four to six weeks of "costly" tribunal hearings.’ He may have been concerned for the cost after recently incurring significant legal fees in successfully appealing an earlier suspension.
However, it is perhaps more likely that his ‘agreement’ with the medical board was more about trying to avoid the airing of the substance of the 12 complaints in a public forum.
In essence, the board restrictions convey a very clear message that it is not proper for a medical professional to be involved in suicide advocacy or suicide coaching. We question whether anyone should be involved. But, in deference to the medical board, they can only make a judgement within their competency.
The only other action the board could have taken would have been to cancel Nitschke’s medical practice certificate outright. I’m glad they did not take this course. If they had, we would not now have the itemized list of 25 particular matters of concern to the board in the operation of Exit International.