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July 12, 2020

Do You Need a Doctor?

This week’s Doxit Podcast examines the topic of the medicalisation of death.

Whereas once a death was the domain of religion, and suicide was considered a sin against God, more recently the public discourse on suicide has medicalised the act, treating it as a mental illness. No rational person could ever wish to end their life, regardless of the reason.

In this week’s discussion, Philip Nitschke and Fiona Stewart question the semantics surrounding rational/ irrational suicide/ Voluntary Assisted Dying/ Medical Aid In Dying, drawing in particular on a recent article by Anita Hannig in the journal Cultural Anthropology (Vol. 34, Issue 1, pp. 53–77).

They explore how a death under a right to die law, is more an instance of the person/ patient gaining State (and medical) authorisation, than the person having any real authority over their life, and death.

DIY end of life strategies are the only effective means by which one’s autonomy and agency can be preserved.