Euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke risks ban

The Australian 25 March 2014
Euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke is facing a third inquiry that could lead to his being barred from medical practice, after a complaint that he promoted euthanasia for social reasons, such as not being able to play golf. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency received the complaint after a lecture by Dr Nitschke at the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital pain management unit in Perth. AHPRA has given Dr Nitschke until the end of this week to respond to the February complaint from one of the doctors at the hospital expressing concern “about him promoting euthanasia for ‘social reasons’. These reasons include reaching a certain age, not being able to play golf, and grief at the death of a spouse,” the complaint said and noted that Dr Nitschke “actively promotes assisted suicides/euthanasia”.

It is the third complaint against Dr Nitschke being considered by AHPRA. The watchdog has launched investigations into complaints he tried to import the sedative nembutal to use as a sleeping pill for a terminally ill patient and set up a sham beer-brewing company, Max Dog Brewing, to import nitrogen cylinders capable of being used for suicide. The first inquiry is looking at claims Dr Nitschke tried to “facilitate the supply of the unapproved medicine, pentobarbital sodium”. The second inquiry is into Max Dog Brewing, which is advertised on euthanasia websites as able to provide nitrogen tanks, which are compatible with plastic bags used for suffocation.