Perth-based GP Alida Lancee admitted almost 2 years ago that she'd assisted an elderly patient with emphysema to die. Since then, she's been walking on a knife's edge.
The police would have charged her but for the fact that they were unable to discover the name of the patient for investigation purposes.
At the time, I'd hoped other doctors would step forward to support her, but none did.
Last night, Alida Lancee appeared on national television and broke the details of her story. risking her livelihood, her professional reputation and a jail sentence in the process. But this time she came armed with support. Two other doctors stood beside her.
One was Dr Rodney Syme, well-known supporter of assisted dying legalisation, past President of Dying with DIgnity Victoria and current Vice President. I remember Dr Syme featuring on the front of a weekly magazine some 10 years ago in Perth. He was seated with his hands held out before him as if waiting for handcuffs. The caption read: "Come on, arrest me". He confessed openly to having assisted certain patients to die. The police dared not touch him.
The other doctor was Dr Frank Kotai who praised the courage of Dr Lancee and told of his own assistance to dying patients.
These doctors have guts! Guts to go against the establishment, guts to tell the truth.
Let's hope their bravery will start an avalanche of truth-tellers. Doctors, please, tell it like it is. Let's take off the blindfolds and stop pretending that all deaths are peaceful or that all suffering can be medicated.
Ann David is a retired human resources professional living in Waikanae on the Kapiti Coast. She has been a campaigner for the right to die with dignity for the past 15 years, initially in Australia and since 2009, in New Zealand. She is a member of the End of Life Choice Society and of the NZARH.