Questions Sean Davison won’t answer

ASKED ON 21 OCTOBER 2015 (AND A SUMMARY PUBLISHED IN THE CAPE TIMES)

Summary questions for Dr Davison, Chairman of ‘Dignity SA’ euthanasia lobby group

1. Did Dr Davison kill a third person? We don’t know. If euthanasia is legalised, how will we know if someone was killed by euthanasia or not.
2. How can anyone else can be expected to comply with Davison’s own criteria for euthanasia if he does not comply with his own.
3. Dr Davison is not a medical doctor and you admit to doing at least two euthanasia’s – so now how do you expect such a proposed law to be enforced to restrict euthanasia to medical doctors?

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Dear Dr Davison & ‘Dignity SA’

At the UCT Bioethics symposium on Tuesday 18 August 2015, I publicly asked you: “If you did a first assisted suicide on the basis that you felt emotionally that was the right thing to do and you argued for that afterwards purely on the basis of ‘terminally ill’. Then you did a second assisted suicide on someone who was not terminally ill, but in pain. And now you put this forward as your new criterion, but then you said you weren’t going to do it again. And then there was a report in the newspaper which said that you had now possibly done a third assisted suicide or euthanasia, which you had not confirm whether you had done or not and I would appreciate if you would clarify that matter, but my question is that it seems you are not being consistent with your own criteria and you are changing your criteria. And now how are we to expect anybody to observe any sort of law that is put in place if you have difficulty in doing that yourself”

Davidson answered: “The criteria have broadly been called ‘unbearable suffering’ either by terminally ill or not terminally ill. These criteria would be discussed by parliament and publicly. The legal precedent in South Africa was Robert Stransham-Ford, who was terminally ill. This will be reviewed by the Constitutional Court. All other countries except the United States include all unbearable suffering as analysed case by case. Physical suffering would be confirmed by a doctor. Doctor Burger [the second case] was suffering in the extreme and able bodied person can contemplate or can imagine the horror of being quadraplegic… He was constantly in pain. He was desperate to die. The fact that he wasn’t terminally ill becomes irrelevant because of unbearable suffering. I hope that category is clearer to you because it boils down to the individual and their own perception of what they consider unbearable suffering”

You, Dr Davison have failed to answer:
1. The question of whether he killed a third person.
2. The question of his inconsistency and how anyone else can be expected to comply with criteria if he does not.

This question has since been published in a letter to the Cape Times. But still no answer. You have a lot to say on other issues on euthanasia. Please will you answer these questions and please answer them publicly.

3. Further to the above question, you and your organisation Dignity SA take a position that only medical doctors should be allowed to do euthanasia. Nevertheless you are not a medical doctor and you admit to doing at least two euthanasia’s – so now how do you expect such a proposed law to be enforced to restrict euthanasia to medical doctors?

Yours sincerely,

Philip Rosenthal