Victoria has issued its first “voluntary assisted dying” permit under the euthanasia laws the state passed in late 2017. Source: The Age.
The permit, which has not been used, will allow the unidentified terminally ill person to obtain a medically approved cocktail of drugs and to end their own life at a time of their own choosing.
Authorities were tight-lipped yesterday about the details of the permit, reported on ABC Radio, simply saying that the state’s “model of voluntary assisted dying” was working.
The refusal to provide details is in keeping with Health Minister Jenny Mikakos' determination not to offer a “running commentary” on the progress of the laws.
The approval, which the Health Department refused to confirm or deny, marks a major milestone in the state's move towards being the only Australian jurisdiction allowing terminally ill residents to take their own lives.
The laws became active in mid-June, after 18 months preparation, with the state government saying it expected only a handful of Victorians – as few as a dozen – to use the laws to end their lives in the first year, but that number was expected to grow up to 150 annually over time.
The scheme is open only to Victorian residents aged 18 years and over who have no more than six months to live, or 12 months if they have neurodegenerative conditions, who are in unbearable pain.
A Health Department spokesman declined to comment yesterday, saying he would not confirm details either of patients or medical workers accessing the scheme.
“We know that doctors are talking to patients about voluntary assisted dying and are carrying out assessments,” a spokesman said.