Parliament’s Health Select Committee suggested in their recent report on public attitudes to ‘assisted dying’* that “greater communication between health professionals and the general public is required to explain the dying process and alleviate fear” (p.18).
In response, Euthanasia-Free NZ is facilitating a free interactive webinar, presented by Dr Amanda Landers, a community palliative care physician and Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Otago Medical School.
Dr Landers reckons that as a Western society we have lost the art of being able to recognise the normal signs and symptoms of a dying body. Consequently we worry relentlessly about our loved one’s suffering, without understanding what they are actually going through.
In “What happens to the dying body?” Dr Landers will discuss what happens within the body when it is dying, moving down from the brain to the gut and beyond. She will explain some experiences people have shortly before they die.
Dr Landers usually gives this talk to medical professionals, but has simplified the language in order to make this presentation accessible to the general public.
The live event is scheduled for Sunday 20 August at 3pm, followed by a replay being made available for a few days. Everyone is invited to register for both options at http://tiny.cc/dyingbody.
The webinar is the first in a series of Conversations about Living and Dying, interviewing experts on issues related to living and dying well. After each short presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to join the discussion in real time by typing their comments and questions.
On 3 September Vicki Walsh will talk about her journey in coming to terms with a terminal brain cancer diagnosis – the same type that Lecretia Seales and Brittany Maynard had.
On 10 September Dr Amanda Landers will discuss “10 Myths about Palliative Care in New Zealand”.
We hope that this webinar would help to address the Health Committee’s concern that “there appears to be a lack of understanding from the general public and some submitters about palliative care can do” (p.42).
The public is invited to suggest topics and speakers for subsequent webinars at livinganddying.org.nz.
*The report is a balanced summary of what the Committee received from submitters on the petition of Maryan Street and 8,974 others, who requested that Parliament fully investigate public attitudes to the introduction of assisted dying legislation. Eighty per cent of submissions were opposed to changing the law. The full report is available at http://tiny.cc/HSCreport.