Australian Man 1st to Use Voluntary Euthanasia Law

Article excerpt

A man with prostate cancer has become the first person to die under the world's first law permitting voluntary euthanasia, a doctor said Thursday.

The man died Sunday after an injection at his home in Darwin in the country's Northern Territory, where euthanasia has been legal since July.

Dr. Philip Nitschke administered the shot. "A patient has taken advantage of the law and gone ahead and determined to have his life ended last weekend," he told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. Nitschke said the patient died after medical specialists had signed the necessary paperwork under the law. "On the day elected by the patient he simply indicated to me that he wished to go ahead, and I was able to carry out that particular wish of the patient, and things went ahead very smoothly, very well," he said. Describing the death of the man, Nitschke said it was a "very poignant moment." The patient had terminal cancer and had been ill for a number of years, the doctor said. …

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