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“Better Off Dead” Podcast Episodes 1 to 17

 

better off dead As the product of his extensive research, in Australia and in overseas jurisdictions which have legalised assisted dying, Andrew Denton and The Wheeler Centre created a 17-part podcast series called “Better Off Dead”, which explores the issues surrounding voluntary assisted dying in Australia and beyond.

  • #7 The killing fields of Belgium: Belgium, part 1(48.09 mins) 1 March 2016 -Belgium is the home to what the most liberal euthanasia laws in the world. Allegations are made of a euthanasia culture that has become so uncaring that the elderly are regularly despatched without their consent. Yet for all these claims, since Belgium’s euthanasia law was introduced in 2002, public support for it remains phenomenally high (over 80%) and there has been no procession of Belgians coming forward to complain about what the law has done to their families.Bonus Interview (86 mins) – Palliative care physician, and Jesuit, Marc Desmet discussing his own complex relationship with euthanasia. Click on the episode name above to listen to the episode or click here to read the transcript of this episode.
  • #9 Why should one church decide for all of us? Death with dignity in Oregon (49.49 mins) 8 March 2016 –Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act 1997 allows terminally-ill Oregonians to end their lives through the voluntary self-administration of lethal medications, expressly prescribed by a physician for that purpose. It is the world’s longest-running law of this kind. All the evidence over the last two decades is that this law works exactly as intended. A terminally-ill 29 year old woman from California, Brittany Maynard, got worldwide attention in 2014 when she moved to Oregon to take advantage of their law and made very personal videos explaining her rational decision, supported by her family.Bonus Interview (86 mins) – Peg Sandeen, the executive director of the Death With Dignity National Center in Portland, Oregon who describes how Oregon’s law works, and the campaign to take it to other states in America. Click on the episode name above to listen to the episode or click here to read the transcript of this episode.
  • #10 Neither hasten nor prolong death (48.08 mins) 15 March 2016-Denton investigates how palliative care services in Australia cope with the sort of people who would elect to have an assisted death in Belgium, the Netherlands and Oregon, where good palliative care and assisted dying are both seen as part of the end-of-life bundle of choices.Bonus Interview (63 mins) – Alex Broom, Professor at Sociology at the University of NSW, who spent six months embedded in a Catholic hospice. What he got was a unique insight into the gulf that exists between many patients’ expressed wish for help to die, and the response they receive. Click on the episode name above to listen to the episode or click here to read the transcript of this episode.
  • #12 Velvet Ray (52.28 mins) 22 March 2016 –
    Ray Godbold is a palliative care nurse faced with terminal cancer – but he doesn’t want to die in palliative care. He knows what some doctors prefer not to admit – that not everything can be taken care of; that a patient’s choices about how they die are very limited; and that, sometimes, their dying involves a wildness nobody can predict. What Ray doesn’t know is that his own death will turn out to be everything he was hoping that he and his family would be spared. Click on the episode name above to listen to the episode or click here to read the transcript of this episode.
  • #13 Now They’re Killing Babies (57.36 mins) 24 March 2016 – Assisted dying has no more committed opponent than the Catholic Church. They have thrown resources, and the full weight of their political influence, against it wherever it has been proposed. The opponents of assisted dying have sown the seeds of FUD – Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt – to great effect.Bonus Interview (43 mins) – Tom Keneally, a successful Australian author and a former Catholic seminarian, who discusses the belief of some Catholics that pain can purify, and that suffering redeems the soul. He acknowledges that the level of suffering that dying people are forced to go through can depending upon what hospital they are unlucky enough to turn up in or which nursing home they happen to be in. Click on the episode name above to listen to the episode or click here to read the transcript of this episode.

Please note: The content of this podcast and some of the articles written by Andrew Denton may be upsetting to those who do not like to recall their own experiences of suffering or watching those they care about suffer towards the end of their life. Denton’s podcast is not about suicide. If you are interested in increasing your understanding of suicide and how to support someone experiencing suicidal ideation, visit the Conversations Matter or beyondblue websites.

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