Nitschke roadshow - it's a business after all

Paul Russell

Paul Russell

This article was published on the Hope Australia website on June 5, 2016

By Paul Russell 

The director of Hope Australia & Vice Chair of EPC - International

It seems that it isn't enough to provide people with information on how to get an illegal euthanasia drug sent to people from overseas; now Philip Nitschke and Exit want to provide tests so that people will know that what came in the mail will 'do the job'.

News reports about Exit's meeting in Canberra, Australia seem to suggest that this is something new. I suppose there has to be a hook here; a reason for the article. The reality is that Nitschke has been doing this now for sometime. If there's a twist it is that the article talks about learning to test the drug at home whereas previously Nitschke had testing apparatus in the back of a small van.

That van was also a delivery vehicle for 'Max Dog' nitrogen cylinders - another of Nitschke's semi-do-it-yourself suicide methods. He's also been working in Switzerland on a new mechanised death-delivery system he calls 'The Destiny Machine' which was also 'demonstrated' at his comedy shows in Edinburgh and most recently in Melbourne.

Suicide is clearly big business! I have always thought it odd that the media paints Nitschke as a 'euthanasia activist' when, in reality, his business model is built on selling suicide or 'self-deliverance' while legal euthanasia would likely curtail his sales figures somewhat by getting doctors and pharmacy involved. But somehow, when there's a sick or disabled person involved, or even someone who expects to become sick or disabled, it is suddenly not about suicide.

Link to the full article

'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.

Link to the full article

Assisted suicide promotion has led to more youth suicide in Australia

Alex Schadenberg, International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Judith Taylor, the mother of Lucas

Judith Taylor, the mother of Lucas

Philip Nitschke has been promoting assisted suicide for many years. Recent statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicates that Nitschke's is promotion of suicide techniques has led to many younger people dying by suicide.

The Sydney Morning Herald featured the story of Lucas Taylor (26) who died in 2012, after receiving suicide assistance from Nitschke and his group.

Judith Taylor, the mother of Lucas, told the Morning Herald:

Twenty-six-year-old Lucas Taylor took his own life by taking Nembutal more than three years ago, but he still gets Exit International's email newsletter. 

Judith Taylor, the mother of Lucas.

After his death in 2012 his mother Judith went through his emails looking for answers and found he had been a paid up member of the organisation. 
the deaths among younger people were an "unintended consequence" of the voluntary euthanasia movement putting out information online on suicide methods.

Nembutal is a veterinary euthanasia drug. 

According the Sydney Morning Herald:

New data from the national coronial information system shows 120 people died by taking Nembutal .. between July 2000 and December 2012. 
The deaths included one person under the age of 20, 11 people in their 20s and 14 people in their 30s. 
Voluntary euthanasia campaigners say the actual number of Nembutal deaths is even higher, as many deaths are not reported to the coroner and people who use the drug to take their lives take steps to make it look like the death is of natural causes.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts contact Your Life Counts.

Nitschke is also fighting to keep his Australian medical license. There have been 12 complaints to the Australian Medical Board concerning Nitschke and his group Exit International.

Link to the full article

Australia: Another story, another push for euthanasia

This article was originally published on the HOPE Australia website.

By Paul Russell, the Director of HOPE Australia

Paul Russell

Paul Russell

Yesterday the Melbourne Age and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers ramped up its editorial support for euthanasia laws by publishing yet another story about a person with a difficult diagnosis who wants the ‘option’ of killing himself. Predictably they also editorialised on the same issue at a time when every other newspaper is covering such pressing matters as the national budget, dealing with the threat of terrorism, social disadvantage etc.

This new story feature’s Victoria’s own ‘doctor death’, Dr Rodney Syme, vice president of the Victorian pro-euthanasia lobby, and records in words, images and video Syme handing the person a bottle identified as containing Nembutal. Syme has admitted providing Nembutal to others. In 2014, he admitted, in the same newspaper, that he gave Steve Guest Nembutal in the weeks before Guest killed himself in 2005. Syme was effectively goading the Victorian Police into action; the article reporting his thoughts as follows:

“Dr Syme, 78, said after watching state Parliaments reject 16 euthanasia bills over the past 20 years he was ready to "out" himself and be charged over Mr Guest's death because a court case could set a useful legal precedent for doctors who are too scared to help terminally ill people end their own lives.”

According to reports, the police did investigate; but the issue went quiet and no charges have apparently been brought in that regard. This is hardly surprising at one level. Nine years after the event what proof would there be to confirm what, after all, was essentially media grandstanding by Syme.

Link to the full article