Friday, December 15, 2017

77-46 OK

So David Seymour's End-of-Life Choice Bill has passed its first reading - with a substantial majority compared with previous attempts in the last couple of decades. The debate is now a matter of formal Parliamentary action.

But NZ First's demand for a referendum is a bit of a spoiler. It would delay the final law beyond the time I might have wanted to avail myself of it. It smacks of party manipulation of what is supposed to be a conscience vote, too. I suspect that Seymour accepted this for the sake of the kind of solid vote that has been achieved to at least get the Bill off to a Select Committee.

And I note one Member who, having finally declared his personal view against the proposal just a few short weeks ago is listed among the "Ayes". I am sure there will be others who, while not sympathetic to the Bill, would be willing to permit the matter to be debated thoroughly. Good on them, I say. And thanks.

And a thorough hearing we hope to have from the Select Committee on Justice. It would have been a travesty of justice if it had gone back to "Turkey" O'Connor's Select Health Committee which took so long to accomplish so little.

Monday, December 11, 2017

A forthright article by Graham Adams at NOTED has been brought to my attention.  Written about six months ago, it is a very valuable summary of where the End-of-Life Choice conversation has been subverted by those who are opposed.

A most telling point for me was this quotation from the Roman Catholic submission to the Health Committee:

“Religious arguments have their own validity and rationale within a particular faith-based framework. However, we recognise - 
(i) they will not be compelling for persons who do not share our faith perspective and 
(ii) they are not sufficient for shaping public policy in a secular society. 
For this reason our submission will focus on arguments of a social, cultural, ethical and philosophical nature that can be understood and appealed to by all persons irrespective of their religious background.”

On the one hand, this looks pretty realistic as well as unexpected. The views of any church are not given a lot of weight when the nation is considering change even in ethical and moral matters. But Adams points out that   "...anyone who has a deep religious conviction that rejects any human interference with what they consider to be a natural life span ordained by God is not putting all their cards on the table if they don’t explicitly argue that position. Because if they did, they would have to admit that there is absolutely no evidence that would change their minds, no matter how compelling."

I am really interested that the Catholics apparently down-played their religious convictions in the submissions process.  That view is pretty much imitated by other mainline churches who have been conspicuously quiet or cooperatively indecisive during the whole debate. 

Well, I need to state that I have what Adams calls "deep religious convictions" in this matter. I am very clear that my advocacy for some form of end-of-life choice for certain people arises out of those faith convictions. Let's get on with the conversation.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


Image result for aed definition medical

A few weeks ago our conscientious nursing staff announced that our Village had a new Automated External Defibrillator. Furthermore, it would be brought to every emergency call involving a collapse. If any of us did not want to be resuscitated in certain circumstances, we would have to provide a written record of our wishes. And we should also wear a Do Not Resuscitate tag.

I'd already been down this track with a wristband which I purchased (but don't normally wear, actually) so it was a simple matter to pick up a suitably inscribed dog tag and borrow a chain from Bev's collection. And I am wearing that all the time.

With total paralysis as a probable outcome of my journey with prostate cancer, I would welcome the opportunity of a substantial heart stoppage to let me go. "I mean it. Nurse. If  I've been out of it for some minutes, just keep that thing off me!"  What a way to outflank the opposition who are denying End-of-Life Choice for me and a few dozen others each year...

Monday, December 4, 2017

Oh, the technology around the PSA

After a year or two of delays my General Practitioner practice has opened up Patient Portal for me, so I can go to the internet and view my test results. This big step in patient information should have saved a lot of time for both him and me in delivering my monthly test results.

However, for two months, nothing has appeared in my "lab test results". This is because of another great step in technology. The local laboratory office has computerised themselves with laptops and printers in every booth. Now I can't just pop my test request into a box at reception. I now have to show a special card, take another card from a box, scan that and then leave both until I am called. In the test room, the operator has to scan the cards again to bring up my details, tap in some bits of information and print labels for the phials.

It was a lot easier when I just handed in my test request. Either way, she still has to take samples of my blood. And within a short time the simple-minded report at the high tech Patient Portal would have displayed Nov 2017 PSA 39 VERY HIGH.

At least it would have, if the system had been told that copies of reports had to go to my GP. But apparently that insignificant piece of information had been overlooked. So I have had an hour on the phone to various people today trying to get that corrected.

And the system's analysis that my PSA of 39 is VERY HIGH takes no account of the fact that six months ago it was doubling in two months and would have been heading for 200 so by now. 39 is actually a reduction over the last couple of months. Thank you, Pharmac NZ, for contributing $4326.19 a month for Abiraterone which does seem to be keeping me going.