By Michael Cook
A 62-year-old South Australian man chose euthanasia because he found navigating the bureaucracy for end-of-life care too complicated and stressful.
Jim Mills was a railway worker living with a partner when he was diagnosed with a brain cancer. Initially he received funding from the NDIS, a national disability scheme. After a while, however, the NDIS decided that his cancer was an illness and not a disability and should therefore be funded through a palliative care scheme. It told him that his NDIS funding would stop and that he would have to enter a hospital.
This made Mr. Mills so flustered that he applied for assisted dying rather than jump through bureaucratic hoops. His NDIS funding was restored, but he had already made up his mind. He died on August 18.
“He didn’t want to go to hospital because our hospital here [in Loxton] is that understaffed, when he was in there for three weeks, they couldn’t provide the full-time care he needed,” Mr. Mills’s partner, Sandrine Adams, told the ABC. “He even got a bed sore. There was only two staff for 17 patients. It’s a very good hospital, but they’re just very understaffed.”
Mr. Mills did not have unendurable pain, but he fulfilled all the criteria for “voluntary assisted dying” in South Australia.
Ms. Adams explained his reasons: “He was scared it [the funding] would get pulled again. And he’d rather pass away than go into hospital. He’d had enough of his condition. But he’d also had enough of fighting the NDIS.”
The ABC suggested that administrative bungles were to blame for his death. But the real reason seems to be poverty and fear of being a burden.
Editor’s note. This appeared at BioEdge and reposted with permission.