Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Coroner examines case of Australia man who died after taking his wife's assisted suicide drugs

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A Coroner in Brisbane Australia has opened an inquest into the death of a man who died after taking the assisted suicide drugs that were prescribed to the man's wife.

An ABC News report by Rachel Riga published on September 25, 2023 stated:
The ABC understands the man's wife had met the criteria and had been given the medication but she was admitted to hospital.

She passed away in hospital before taking the VAD substance.

Her husband was required to return the medication within 14 days but consumed it instead.

A recent article by Rex Martinich and published by AAP news Australia stated:

The Coroners Court in Brisbane today opened the inquest into the May 2023 death of a man aged in his 80s referred to by the pseudonym ABC.

ABC's name and those of his family members along with many other details surrounding his death cannot be published for legal reasons.

The substance involved in ABC's death was obtained legally after Queensland allowed voluntary assisted dying (VAD) in January 2023.

Under that law, a person can self-administer a VAD substance in a private location but they must nominate a person who will be legally required to return any unused or leftover portion within 14 days.

Coroner David O'Connell heard ABC kept the VAD substance in his home after it was no longer required for another person.

The issue of the State regulations was discussed:

O'Connell said he was concerned regulations around self-administering VAD could allow other people without a terminal illness to be physically harmed or suffer mental distress.
"We've got medication safety and patient autonomy; we've got to find where the pendulum swings to get the balance right," he said.
The nurse said VAD substances in a hospital were kept in a locked cabinet that required two keys to access but were not monitored after a patient took possession.
April Freeman, the lawyer for Queensland Health asked the nurse if pain medications in lethal amounts are ever given out. The nurse responded:
 it was not uncommon and she was not aware of health authorities having control over those drugs once they were handed to patients.
The Coroner's inquiry will continue. 
  • Man dies after taking wife's assisted suicide drugs (Link).

No comments: