Professor Savulescu will speak about the place of refusal of food and hydration as a legal and ethical form of assisted dying at QUT School of Law’s 2014 Health Law Research Centre annual public lecture on March 31.
“People have the right to refuse to eat and drink and the right to palliative care to relieve their symptoms,” Professor Savulescu said.
“It is one way terminally ill people can control when and how they die.”
Professor Savulescu cited the 2012 case of the UK’s Tony Nicklinson who died six days after the High Court rejected his bid for help to end his life by choosing to refuse food and drink as well as medical treatment. Mr Nicklinson had been paralysed by a stroke in 2005 and had locked-in syndrome which left him unable to communicate verbally.
“Mr Nicklinson’s case sparked my interest in voluntary palliated starvation. My lecture will cover how this method of assisted dying is already in use in some circumstances and will explain the ethical and legal justification for it.
“There various drawbacks to this method, and it illustrates there is still a requirement for a legal and ethical framework for assisted suicide.”
QUT Health Law Research Centre director Professor Ben White said euthanasia, and proposed legislation surrounding euthanasia and assisted dying had been a long-standing staple of debate in the health law and bioethics fields, and in the broader community.
“The annual public lecture is part of the Centre’s commitment to public debate in the health law field. It provides an opportunity for these critical issues to be considered by the community in a free public forum delivered by a world expert in this field.”
Professor Savulescu is the Uehiro chair in Practical Ethics, and director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics. He is the editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics and recently launched, with Roger Crisp, the Journal of Practical Ethics, an open access journal in moral and political philosophy.
Professor Savulescu’s public lecture, ‘The Place of Refusal of Food and Hydration in End of Life Decision Making’ will be held at 6pm on Monday, March 31 in QUT’s premier venue Room Three Sixty. It begins at 5:30pm with canapés and refreshments.
To attend this free event, please RSVP via: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/20140331-hlrc-annual-public-lecture-tickets-10569956023
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