Bioethics News

Nitschke tells medical board to go to blazes

It took only a month for Australia’s leading right-to-die activist to tire of life without being able to teach people how to kill themselves. Philip Nitschke, who retained his medical registration last month only by agreeing not to promote suicide, has reneged.

In a dramatic press conference, he burned his medical practising certificate and announced that he would aggressively promote rational suicide. He said in a press statement:

30 years ago I left the Territory to study medicine in Sydney, 5 years later I returned and began my medical career here in this city, in Darwin Hospital. Today, and with considerable sadness, I announce the end of that 25 year medical career. I confirm this decision by burning my medical practicing certificate…..

However, he also asserted his right to use the title “doctor”, which medical authorities are likely to contest. He said defiantly:

I will remain a “Doctor” and will legitimately use that title, and I will continue see patients/ Exit members in my euthanasia clinics that I run in Australia, in Darwin and Adelaide, and in other countries. Indeed while in Darwin this visit I will be seeing two terminal patients who have sought my advice.

Once again, he insisted that suicide is a fundamental right:

The right of an adult to a peaceful death is a fundamental right. This right is not dependent on degrees of sickness, or medical expertise, or any permission or authority that that the medical profession can give. As such, I reject the authority and role of the Medical Board in the furthering and development of end of life choice in this country.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.