November 2, 2017
Euthanasia Pioneer Dies while Victorian Politicians Procrastinate
Former Exit International Social Media Manager, Jay Franklin, has died in a Melbourne hospital this week after a lifetime of suffering and incapacity from congenital Hirschsprung’s disease.
Jay underwent more than 100 operations for the condition in the first few years of life, having most of his bowel removed.
His later years were plagued with chronic pain and repeated infections associated with intravenous feeding and immune suppression. In 2015 he was told he was not a candidate for a bowel transplant.
In the last five years of his life he campaigned for change to Australian end of life laws so that he would have the option of a peaceful elective death.
He applied to the Swiss assisted suicide organisation Dignitas and was accepted. He chose though to stay in Melbourne and continue campaigning to have Australian legislation changed.
For 3 years Jay undertook a paid position with Exit International as Social Media Manager, a job he could manage, even with repeated and lengthy periods of hospitalisation.
When the debate started in the Victorian parliament he was pleased to see the passage of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 through the lower house, but recognised that in its current form the law would be of no use to him.
As he said in his Facebook and Twitter accounts, the proposed law does not help those with chronic suffering and those with an uncertain life expectancy as he had; those who could not be classed as “terminal”.
Jay died, in hospital as the debate on the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill moved into the upper house. He would have been appalled to see the moves being made by politicians to further restrict the law.
Speaking from Vancouver, Exit International Director Dr Philip Nitschke said he was very sad that Jay did not live to see the passage of the law.
“Jay recognised the limitations of the proposed legislation but was still prepared to spend the last day of his life campaigning for change, a truly courageous act”
“But his case highlights the problems with legislation that has been so loaded up with safeguard and restriction that it will be extremely difficult to use.”
“Premier Andrews may be proudly describing the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill as ‘the world’s most conservative’, but the current moves to amend the legislation seem destined to make it the world’s most unworkable law!”
Contacts: Philip Nitschke: firstname.lastname@example.org, or +1 (647) 766-6276 1st Nov17