Alida Lancee is a West Australian GP.
Over her long career, she’s helped thousands of patients. She even helped one of those patients die.
It’s not something she’s ashamed of.
On Sunday night’s episode of 60 Minutes, Lancee told Tara Brown she was prepared to face the consequences of her actions.
Dr Lancee breaks down on 60 Minutes…
“I’m not wimping out now. I’m going to take this all the way,” she told the program.
“Deal with me as you see fit.”
Dr Lancee is a passionate advocate for assisted dying and she says it’s an issue that Australia desperately needs to address.
“Right now, behind closed doors in Australia, hundreds of people are begging for help,” she tells Brown.
“This is no minor issue. This is not something that you can just say, ‘Oh, it’s not happening ’cause I can’t see it’.”
“If this requires a challenge in the court system, I have medical opinions who will back me up.”
In 2016, Dr Lancee was investigated by police over the death of one of her patients.
It was later established that Dr Lancee’s patient had died from natural causes and that no wrong doing was found.
But, according to Dr Lancee, they were looking at the wrong patient.
On tonight’s episode, the West Australian GP named the patient she helped to die.
“The lady’s name was Mavis Scott,” she explained. “And the condition that she had was end stage lung disease.”
“I talked to her a long time and her daughter. I says, ‘Look, Mavis, what is it you want?’, she replied ‘I just want to die… Please help me’.”
“So I said, ‘Look, I will provide you with rapid terminal sedation and it is likely to cause you to die much sooner than otherwise’.”
This admission is likely to spark a police investigation and maybe even a murder charge.
But it’s a risk Dr Lancee is willing to take.
And she’s not alone.
During the program, two other GPs came forward and admitted to helping their own patients die.
Dr Frank Kotai told 60 Minutes he has assisted in half a dozen deaths. And Dr Rodney Syme admitted to assisting in 300 deaths.
In June 2019, new laws will make Victoria the only state in Australia where it is legal for doctors to assist terminal patients who seek their help to end their lives.
But Dr Lancee, Dr Kotai and Dr Syme believe there’s still a long way to go.