Fiona Jacobs is campaigning for voluntary assisted dying. Picture: John McCutcheon
Fiona Jacobs is campaigning for voluntary assisted dying. Picture: John McCutcheon

Nurse’s fears over euthanasia delays

IF FIONA Jacobs had a vial of morphine with her she would’ve given it to her mother.

Instead her mum’s battle with terminal illness drew to an excruciating end after 12 years.

The career nurse who retired to Sunrise Beach has spent the past three years campaigning for terminally ill people to end their lives and suffering with dignity.

But she’s been dealt what she said was a devastating blow, with the recommendations from the long-awaited Voluntary Assisted Dying Inquiry not to be debated before the October state election.

The recommendations were set to be referred to the Queensland Law Reform Commission, with draft legislation due to be finished by March 1, 2021.

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The Parliamentary Health Committee recommended in March that draft legislation be passed, after spending almost a year assessing it.

Ms Jacobs said she feared the delay could cost those suffering, especially if a change of government took place, which she said could see the legislation dumped altogether.

“We have people at the moment who are suffering,” she said.

“It infuriates me because that’s playing with people’s lives.”

She said the only reason she could think of for the delay was the State Government politicising the issue, trying to score votes with the promise of passing it in the next term.

“It’s almost like blackmail,” Ms Jacobs said.

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A registered nurse for 35 years, Ms Jacobs said she’d always supported the humane approach, having sat at bedsides as families and terminally ill patients begged for their lives to be ended.

Her mother’s death was the trigger for her to begin campaigning full-time.

“If I had a vial of morphine I would’ve given it to her (mother),” Ms Jacobs said.

She praised Noosa MP Sandy Bolton’s efforts to progress the legislation, and said it was vital all MPs and candidates made clear their positions on the issue, and whether they’d be willing to go against their party to support the legislation, before people cast their votes.

Under the proposed legislation people aged 18 and over could seek an assisted death if diagnosed by a medical practitioner as having advanced and progressive terminal illness or a neurodegenerative condition.

More than 4700 written submissions were received during the Parliamentary inquiry.


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