Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dr Nitschke has 48 hours to defend being struck off by medical board.

This article was originally published on July 17 by Paul Russell on the HOPE Australia blog.

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Paul Russell
y Paul Russell, the Director of HOPE Australia (Preventing euthanasia and assisted suicide) and the Vice Chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition - International.


The head of Exit International, Dr Philip Nitschke held a press conference ahead of an Exit meeting in Melbourne Australia today.

The Age Newspaper is reporting that Dr Nitschke claims that he has 48 hours to mount a defence against the medical board of Australia, AHPRA, whom the report says, wants Nitschke deregistered as a medical practitioner.

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), now has a media statement on their website confirming this move, saying:

Immediate action is a serious step. The threshold for the Board to take immediate action is high and is defined in section 156 of the National Law. To take immediate action, the Board must reasonably believe that: 
because of their conduct, performance or health, the practitioner poses a ‘serious risk to persons’ and that it is necessary to take immediate action to protect public health or safety, 
or that the practitioner’s registration was improperly obtained, 
or the practitioner or student’s registration was cancelled or suspended in another jurisdiction.
Read the full press statement HERE:

The ABC News is confirming: Speaking in Melbourne, Dr Nitschke said 
"the Medical Board, under pressure, has suddenly decided that immediate deregistration seems to be the best option. So that's what they decided to do."
This detail comes on the back of an ABC 7:30 Report recently where it was disclosed that Dr Nitschke spoke and corresponded with a Perth WA man who admitted in an email to Exit that he intended to suicide. Suicide Prevention authorites were outraged that Dr Nitschke admitted on television that he did nothing to try and stop the man.

In what is seen by this writer as a very low blow, Nitschke is claiming that the man in question, Nigel Brayley, was a serial killer. As if that is some justification for not acting and for welcoming his death. It is known that Brayley did have an association with the death of two people - one his wife - but no charges had been laid against him and it remains unclear whether he was ever considered a suspect.


It is clear that the public response from suicide prevention agencies and also the Australian Medical Association in Western Australia have fed the appropriate public outrage at this situation.

Nitschke seems to be suggesting in the Age article that this is the principal issue that concerns the medical board. While this may be the case, this writer is aware of a number of other formal complaints against Nitschke. The initial complaint came from within the Therapeutic Goods Administration Agency which was followed in August 2012 by a formal complaint from HOPE. This recent furore is understood to have led to a complaint from Beyond Blue chairman, Jeff Kennett as well as possibly from the AMA in Western Australia. Whether there are further complaints is not known at this time.

As reported earlier Nitschke seems to be basing his defence on the notion that suicide can be rational and, according to today's report, that the original ABC 7:30 report was biased.

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