People will not attend Australia’s first euthanasia clinic to die but to obtain information and drug test results, says Dr Philip Nitschke.
The voluntary euthanasia campaigner and Exit International director said the clinic and research laboratory will open in Adelaide by the end of the week.
“It will not be a place where people come to die,” he told AAP on Tuesday.
“I get calls every day from people wanting to know what end of life choices are available to them, and asking if they can have a consultation.”
The clinic, which also will offer virtual internet consultations, will provide euthanasia advice and information, and distribute nitrogen kits.
“And I suppose there will be a degree of teaching,” he said.
Other services will include testing euthanasia drugs people may have obtained through unreliable channels.
“Testing drugs to give people accurate information about what will happen if they are consumed is an important medical service and entirely consistent with the principals of harm minimisation.”
Nitschke said such a facility was long overdue and was particularly appropriate for South Australia because of the upcoming voluntary euthanasia parliamentary debate.
Independent MP Bob Such’s Ending Life with Dignity bill has been revised recently following consultations with key groups, including the South Australian Law Society.
Debate and a vote is possible by Thursday.
The legislation seeks to give a limited number of competent adults, who are in the final phase of a terminal illness and who are suffering unbearable pain, the right to make informed choices about the time and manner of their death.
It also seeks to ensure that people who have requested euthanasia obtain humane medical assistance to hasten death and that the administration of euthanasia is subject to appropriate safeguards and supervision, including the need for two medical opinions.
Nitschke said he had received recent communication from the Medical Board of Australia about two current investigations into his medical registration and suitability to practice medicine.
He said he was advised in a November 1 letter that the investigations, which have been running for two years, are still ongoing “because of the nature and complexity of the issues being investigated”.
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