Urologist and Dying with Dignity Victoria vice-president Dr. Robert Syme has publicly admitted to giving nembutal to man dying from cancer.
Dr. Syme said that in 2005 he gave 86-year-old Steve Guest the lethal drug, judging that “it would give him the best possible palliation of his psychological existential suffering.” Mr. Guest died two weeks later from an overdose of the drug.
Dr. Syme dared authorities to arrest him, believing that prosecution may result in a legal precedent salutary to the pro-euthanasia cause: “a lot of these things, it seems, will only be changed in a court decision, so bring it on”.
Dr. Syme’s actions parallel the various public confessions to assisting in suicide made by Dr. Jack Kevorkian in the 1990s.
Paul Russell – executive director of Hope: Preventing Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide – said that various aspects of the case could be scrutinized, but in particular questioned Dr. Syme’s expertise in the psychology of palliative care: ‘‘People can appear to be quite rational when perhaps they are not,’’ he said.
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