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in the March Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand. Firstly, Kieran ... euthanasia was ever legalised in New Zealand, ... to use the judgement of the Supreme Court.

Tell us what you think Not all nurses supported Butler's behaviour I WISH to comment on two Letters published in the March Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand. Firstly, Kieran Monaghan's swipe at those who found Josie Butler's dildo-throwing behaviour offensive ("Butler's political action offends the prudish", p3). Surely those who were offended by Butler's actions are entitled to their view. Butler made an individual protest in a questionable way. Does she now expect her professional organisation to back her actions and stand in solidarity, when it was not privy to her intended plans? Butler and Monaghan should realise tha t many nurses do not sup­ port dildo-throwing, grandstanding, juvenile behaviour to get some point across. The suf­ fragettes would be the first to say tha t some actions are unjustifiable in terms of effective publicity, professional behaviour, offensive­ ness and credibility. Now the second letter, "Nurses' fears un­ founded" (p3) by Glyn Havill. Havill has not reassured me with her response to the issue of physician-assisted dying. The 2015 Auckland study she refers to was grossly slanted towards law change. Having attempted to complete the questionnaire myself, I found few oppor­ tunities to address my concerns, particularly with where i t w ill all lead. These concerns are certainly not unfounded, considering where some countries now find themselves, ie with unconsented euthanasia. We have not had a fu ll and frank discussion as a profession, nor as a country, as the media does not provide equal opportunities to highlight opposing views. Cath Tasker, RN, Christchurch

Havill's letter misleading WE WISH to reply to Glyn Havill's letter "Nurs­ es' fears unfounded", published in March (p3).

palliative sedation, etc) to be acts of eutha­

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nasia, or illegal, or unethical. Many physicians and nurses place a great deal of professional and personal faith in this argument, ie that

The co-editors, Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand,

the intention is always to relieve symptoms, not to hasten death.

P0 Box 2128, Wellington or e-m ail us at: [email protected] We reserve the righ t to ed it letters for sense and length. Shorter letters (under 400 words) are pre­ ferred. Please include address, nursing qualifica­ tions and phone number.

Dying, there is some evidence th a t shows that, although there are nurses who support legislative change allowing a form of euthana­ sia, there is also a substantial number who do not support such a change. This is particularly

Hence, while some ethicists clearly do not make any distinction between PAD/suicide (where a physician either deliberately administers a lethal dose to a patient on their request, or provides the means for the patient to kill him or herself) and "other end-of-life practices", i t does not necessarily mean that all ethicists agree with the argument. For many, arguments like "the ends ju stify the means" and " it all ends up the same", ie in

the case when one examines the submissions of nursing-affiliated service groups (eg by the Christchurch Hospital palliative care service). Clearly, until a much more detailed and conclu­

death, are highly dubious. We certainly do not agree with such consequentialist arguments. Just to make sure there's no confusion,

sive assessment of the submissions is released, Havill should not be making such presumptu­

we are not associated with, or members of any pro- (or anti-) euthanasia lobby group. However, Martin Woods is a research fellow for Wellington's Mary Potter Hospice and both of

ous claims. Secondly, we wish to point out tha t the claim which Havill attributes to a study by Malpas, MitchelL and Koschwanez (2015) that "two thirds o f nurses agreed that assisted dying should be legalised" is quite erroneous. That particular study sought material relating to end-of-life opinions and practices within general medical practice, and any reference to nurses is secondary (albeit tha t at least

we would like to state (unlike Havill) that

us are nursing lecturers at Victoria University's Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health. If, in some eyes, this disqualifies us from having an opinion on euthanasia, then we should all indeed be nervous about the future of the ongoing euthanasia debate in New Zealand. Martin Woods, RN, MA, PhD, & Helen Rook, RN, BSc, PGDip, MN, Wellington

one significant cause for nursing concern did appear in the study). On the other hand, if Havill meant to refer to a subsequent study by the Auckland University Group, then we need to point out th a t the preliminary findings of th a t particular study have been dogged by controversies, doubts and complaints, and it is, as far as we're aware, s till unverified and unpublished. Thirdly, and most disturbing of all, is

Who are the real heroes? IN TODAY'S world, we are all held hostage by whatever the current politically-correct perspective is. I know I am risking scorn when I question what the big deal is about someone throwing a sex toy at another person. Is that reaLly all it takes to be heralded as some sort of icon?

and misinformed. We believe NZNO is correct

her claim that "both doctors and nurses are sometimes involved in the illegal act o f giving drugs to hasten death". This is basically an

in stating that nurses must be protected if euthanasia was ever legalised in New Zealand, and even that there are significant grounds

unqualified and unsupported argument. Even

stance. Such an action did not take years of

i f she does disagree with the stance of the New Zealand Medical Association, or attempts

commitment in the face of hardship or show a level of significant self-sacrifice. Honouring

for nurses' fears on the issue of "physicianassisted dying" (PAD).

to use the judgement of the Supreme Court of Canada to support her arguments, it does

We do not accept the claim that "there is now good evidence to suggest that many nurses are strongly in favour [ o f PAD/euthanasia],

not follow th a t some New Zealand doctors and nurses are currently committing iLlegal acts of homicide. Members of both the medical and nursing professions do not consider any

We found this letter to be both misleading

as evidenced by submissions so fa r". From a preliminary review of the scores of submis­ sions to the Select Committee on Assisted

of the actions noted by the Supreme Court (withdrawal or withholding medical treatment,

I don't regard Josie Butler's actions at Waitangi as particularly brave, despite her political

Butler's action simply perpetuates society's elevation of the instant dramatic event above gradual progressions that bring significant rewards over time. As I write this, I am reading the contribu­ tions made by Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand co-editor Teresa O'Connor in the April issue - from her hard-hitting editorial, backed by

Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand * vol 22 no 4 * May 2016


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