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Euthanasia: And they say that people with disabilities have nothing to fear…

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Health24.com (9/23/14) reports a story from SAPA (the South African Press Association):

A doctor, previously convicted in New Zealand for assisting his mother’s death now admits helping a South African quadriplegic to commit suicide.

Dr Anrich Burger, quadriplegic after a car accident in 2005, worked for Health24’s CyberDoc. He died in November 2013. Sean Davison’s spokesperson confirmed he had aided Burger to die, after Davison spoke at last week’s euthanasia conference in Chicago, US. Davison said:

‘He asked me to be part of his plan, and I became his co-conspirator…’. He was also reported as saying later: ‘Not all quadriplegics want to die, but those who do want to, should have the option.’

Davison should face criminal charges. He has stepped past any pretense that assisted suicide/euthanasia is for terminally ill people and is openly assisting in the deaths of quadriplegics.

And they say that people with disabilities have nothing to fear…

Burger, described as a former youth rugby player and a good swimmer, was proud of the work he did for Health24. He became worried for his potential patients welfare ‘when he was unable to attend to [his work] regularly, because of severe neuropathic pain and other complications’.

A person with disabilities has pain, and distress about his work, his own patients’ welfare, and asks a doctor to help him commit suicide. If the doctor says, “Let’s look at your pain management – let’s get you working again the way you’d like – you have so much to give these online patients seeking help,?” that leads to a belief that life is worth living.

But if a doctor responds: ‘You want to die? Yes of course I’ll help you’ – that leads to a belief that the person is better off dead.

According to the article this same Davison has claimed that doctors are already secretly helping elderly South African patients to die. His response? ‘Make it legal for them to do so.’

But hang on a minute: killing patients is illegal in South Africa. Where are the investigations, the potential prosecutions of people, doctors or not, [who are] killing elderly people? Where are the checks and balances, the protection from elder abuse, from the soft seductive suggestion of the medically ‘authoritative’ voice whispering ‘You’ve done enough now. Let me help you.’

Davison served a five-month sentence in New Zealand for assisting the death of his mother, who had cancer. She initially tried refusing food and fluids, but when that failed he gave her a lethal dose of morphine. Originally charged with attempted murder, and arrested in September 2010, he pleaded guilty to assisted suicide in the Dunedin High Court in 2011.

Despite this criminal conviction, or worse, perhaps because of it, he was elected to the board of the euthanasia federation. Davison also spoke openly about the population of Africa, a continent of over one billion people making it ‘very important to have representation at the highest level of this federation’ of people like him. He, like many of his kind, makes no attempt to cover his and their world view of population control when speaking about assisted suicide/euthanasia.

Is this the doctor you want at your hospital bedside when you need one? It is not just disabled people who need to fear this new breed of ‘doctor’.

Editor’s note. This appeared at noeuthanasia.org.au.


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

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