November 27, 2015
Medical Registration Resignation Statement
Dr Philip Nitschke, Statement
I have now had a month to consider the 26 conditions the Medical Board have imposed on my medical registration, and to survey the membership of Exit International.
Before commenting on several of the more onerous conditions and my planned response, I will make one general observation.
The conditions the Board has sought impose on me (and, by extension, impose on all doctors in Australia) amounts to a heavy handed and clumsy attempt to restrict the free flow of information on end of life choice between doctor and patient, and as such it violates fundamental principles of free speech. This is incompatible with the practice of modern medicine.
Some examples of the 26 restrictions the Medical Board has imposed:
9. I cannot provide advice or information to any patient or member of the public, including via workshops, the Peaceful Pill Handbook or e-Handbook (the PP Handbook), videos or on-line forums, on Nembutal.
10. I cannot provide advice or information to any patient or member of the public (including via workshops, the PP Handbook, videos or on-line forums) on how to suicide
12. I cannot sell or provide test kits or other testing services to any patient or member of the public to test Nembutal for purity.
20. I must remove (and not reinstate) his name from, and any endorsement by the practitioner of, the PP Handbook.
25. If a patient communicates an intention to suicide, I must refer that person to an appropriate registered health practitioner in a timely manner.
26. If a member of the public communicates an intention to suicide, I must suggest that person contact a registered health practitioner or their local community mental health service.
I have surveyed our membership in Australia and overseas. There has been over 1100 replies with a clear expression of the membership’s views.
- 98% or respondents said I should continue my work at Exit International
- 99.6% wanted me to continue to run Exit Workshops on end of life choices
- 99.6% wanted me to continue to answer their questions about Nembutal
- 99.2 % wanted me to continue to provide information on the use of Nitrogen to obtain a peaceful death
- 94% wanted me to continue to publish end of life information in my Peaceful Pill Handbook
- 98% did not want me to refer those who seek advice to ‘mental health professionals’
- 91% said access to end of life information was a human right
- 90% said that they believe a rational elderly adult should be able to exit at their chose time, even if not terminally ill.
The full survey results are at: http://exitinternational.net/media/Survey.pdf
After considering the views of Exit members and seeking advice for other professionals, both medical and non-medical, my response to these restrictions is as follows. The Board has said what a doctor cannot do, and this is my response:
9. I will continue to provide advice and information to patients and appropriate members of the public who seek it, on the use of the premier end of life drug Nembutal.
I will continue to distribute and update my Peaceful Pill Handbook, produce teaching videos and continue to run the Exit on-line end of life forum as the law permits.
I will continue to run Exit End of Life Workshops in all Australia and other countries. Workshops will run in all Australian cities over the next three weeks, beginning in Darwin this afternoon. This workshop series will be billed – “Workshops where you receive the end of life information doctors can not provide”.
10. I will continue to provide appropriate and accurate information on suicide to patients and members of the public who request it. In particular detailed information on the lawful use of Nitrogen and other inert gases to achieve a peaceful reliable death will continue.
12. I will continue to develop and market test kits to enable patients and members of the public to test the purity of Nembutal they acquire. Making available reliable Nembutal test kits is consistent with the principal of harm minimisation.
20. I will not remove my name from the Peaceful Pill Handbook which I co-authored with Dr Fiona Stewart. This book is now the world’s most popular guide that advises on end of life methods, and serves the growing demand by the elderly for information on the means to control the manner and timing of one’s death.
The December update of the Handbook is due for release next week and contains new information on a number of new overseas sites where one can lawfully purchase Nembutal.
25. I will not refer patients or members of the public who communicate with me an intention to suicide to a registered heath practitioner or local mental health service, unless I see this as appropriate.
I will remain a ‘Doctor’ and will legitimately use that title, and I will continue see patients/ Exit members in my euthanasia clinics that I run in Australia, in Darwin and Adelaide, and in other countries. Indeed while in Darwin this visit I will be seeing two terminal patients who have sought my advice.
The Medical Board of Australia shows by these actions how little insight this body has into the changing social needs of modern society.
The right of an adult to a peaceful death is a fundamental right. This right is not dependent on degrees of sickness, or medical expertise, or any permission or authority that that the medical profession can give.
As such, I reject the authority and role of the Medical Board in the furthering and development of end of life choice in this country.
I will retain my directorship of Exit International and will continue to work towards a future where all rational adults have access to the information and means to peacefully end their lives at the time of their choosing. In particular, I will pursue the policies recently outlined by the Dutch voluntary euthanasia society NVVE to ensure that all adults over the age of 70 have access to a reliable Peaceful Pill. In addition, I will continue to seek political support in Australia for the decriminalisation of possession and importation of small quantities (<15gm) of Nembutal.
I have returned today from Switzerland and Holland where development of a reliable legal assisted suicide device (the Deliverance machine) is proceeding.
I will continue to promote the idea of ‘rational suicide’/ rational death. The medical profession continue to maintain that all suicide is a manifestation of mental illness. This is false and needs to be challenged.
To this end I, and my organisation, will run the first international conference on Rational Suicide to take place in Melbourne on 22nd September 2016. 20 years to the day after I administered the world’s first legal lethal voluntary injection here in Darwin to cancer sufferer Bob Dent in 1996.
30 years ago I left the Territory to study medicine in Sydney, 5 years later I returned and began my medical career here in this city, in Darwin Hospital. Today, and with considerable sadness, I announce the end of that 25 year medical career. I confirm this decision by burning my medical practicing certificate…..
Contact: Dr Philip Nitschke, 0407 189 339 Date: 27th Nov, 2015