'Cowboy' suicide doctor in Australia may be riding into his own sunset

Paul Russell

Paul Russell

This article was written by Paul Russell, the director of Hope Australia and published by Hope Australia on March 9, 2016.

By Paul Russell

My colleague, Alex Schadenberg called Dr Rodney Syme ‘a cowboy’ last year in relation to Syme admitting to have supported the suicide deaths of approximately 100 people over a number of years.

Syme seems either to have been beguiled by the cult of celebrity or maybe he truly wants to become a martyr for a cause. Either way, he seems comfortable appearing in the press from time to time making outrageous and unsustainable claims about having helped yet another ill person to take their own life. I say ‘outrageous and unsustainable’ because while seeming to be goading the authorities to arrest him and to make a test case out of his actions, he never provides enough (if any) evidence to them or to the public to back up his claims.

And while he told Andrew Denton recently that he gets ‘annoyed’ when the word ‘suicide’ is used, it is against the statute that prohibits assisting in ‘suicide’ that his actions might be measured if he ever backs up his rhetoric with proofs. When a person kills themself, it is a suicide; the circumstances don’t change that reality.

But he provides no proof. Even in the death of Ray Godbold, covered extensively by the Fairfax Press in May 2015, where the journalist reports on a moment in time (with pictures) that perhaps should have had the authorities acting.

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