Today's terminally ill patients can now legally ask their doctor that lethal drugs take their lives under the sole euthanasia laws of the nation.
The state-supported state of voluntary death status, which should be used by about 150 people a year, comes into effect today.
According to the scheme, terminally ill Victorian adults with intolerable pain and less than six months of life or 12 months for neurodegenerative diseases and who meet 68 safeguards may require the help of their dying doctor.
But while the laws are now in action, even if someone starts the process today it will take at least 10 days to complete.
18 months have passed since the Victorian parliament passed the laws during the 2017 marathon sessions.
Since then a task force has been tasked with establishing how the system will work.
An independent review committee and the coroner will track and monitor all deaths within the framework.
THE VOLUNTARY ACTUAL LAWS OF VICTORIA ASSISTED
WHO CAN REQUEST?
• Adults with advanced progressive terminal disease and less than six months of life or within 12 months for neurodegenerative diseases
• Suffering must be considered "intolerable"
• They must be sane
• Must have lived in Victoria for at least 12 months and be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
HOW WILL IT WORK?
• Patients must make three clear requests
• Patients must start the discussion of assisted dying and no one else
• They will be evaluated by two experienced doctors, including at least one specialist
• Those approved will receive permits for lethal drugs, which must be self-administered
• Permission will be granted for doctors to administer drugs only if the patient is physically incapable
• Only chemists at the Alfred hospital will be able to prepare the drug
• Doctors should not be present when patients are administering drugs
• The process to apply and receive drugs will take at least 10 days
• Unused lethal drugs must be returned within 15 days of death
• The Department of Health and Human Services will approve the applications
• An independent audit committee will oversee each stage of the process
• Death certificates will record "assisted voluntary death"
• The coroner must be informed of deaths due to assisted death
PENALTY FOR MISUSE
• If someone violates the self-sufficiency permit, he must face the potential life sentence
• Anyone who induces a person to seek assisted death risks up to five years in prison and hefty fines
• Doctors who suggest the pattern of assisted death to patients must face an investigation conducted incorrectly
Source: Victorian government
While the laws have a great deal of support, critics remain and on Tuesday evening some 50 pro-life activists, including children, took their protest to the steps of Parliament for a candlelight vigil.
The government expects up to 150 people per year to use the scheme.
The laws have been highly divisive.
A woman whose terminally ill husband exerted strong pressure for witnessing the death to be legalized in Victoria is among those "in seventh heaven" that the controversial laws have come into effect.
The former CEO of Shell Coles Express, Peter Short, 57, died in 2014 in palliative care after undergoing terminal sedation for cancer of the esophagus.
The man from Melbourne had fought hard for the laws.
"I'm in seventh heaven and it makes me sad to think that Pete isn't around to see it, but for everyone else, it's a big step forward," his wife Elizabeth Short told 3AW radio.
Ms. Short said that Peter was given Nembutal, known as the "peaceful pill", but eventually he chose hospital palliation.
"He had the choice to end his life or to choose the path he took, but it was the greatest gift someone could give for him," he said.
He added that people needed to understand terminal sedation already "it happens all the time without regulation".
Go The gentle director Andrew Denton said that by implementing safe and viable dying assisted laws, Victoria did what no other Australian state was willing to do.
"The law on the death of the Victorian volunteer has set the benchmark on how public policy should be designed and implemented in this country," he said.
"The question now is not whether but when other states will follow Victoria's compassionate lead."
The Catholic bishops issued a final warning against the controversial laws, with a letter signed by four Victorian bishops who warn of a "new and deeply disturbing chapter of health care".
"We cannot cooperate with the facilitation of suicide even when it seems motivated by empathy or kindness," said the letter signed by the bishops of Melbourne, Ballarat, Sale and Sandhurst.
A few hours before the new laws came into force, around 50 protesters with Pro-Life Victoria took the reins of Victoria & # 39; s Parliament House, opposing the scheme.
"This legislation is coming into force despite widespread opposition within the medical community," said Pro-life president Victoria, Denise Cameron, a former nurse.
If you or someone you know needs help, please contact Lifeline at 13 11 14 o Beyond blue for a list of organizations that can help.
LIFELINE 13 11 14 BEYONDBLUE 1300 22 4636
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