Doctors 'help people to die'
SOUTH Africa should legalise euthanasia as many doctors are already secretly helping elderly patients to die, Western Cape University Professor Sean Davison said
"Many doctors have said to me privately that they've helped people to die ... at their request," he said.
Davison was addressing the Cape Town Press Club in Newlands.
He returned to South Africa in May after serving a five-month detention in New Zealand for helping his cancer-stricken mother end her life.
She had tried going on a hunger strike, but when that failed he gave her a lethal dose of morphine.
Davison pleaded guilty to assisted suicide in the Dunedin High Court last year.
He was originally charged with attempted murder and was arrested in September 2010.
Yesterday he said that he was continuing efforts to bring a draft euthanasia Bill before Parliament, and would approach politicians in the next few months.
His organisation DignitySA was petitioning support on its website.
Davison said he had received considerate support from the legal profession.
"The difficulty has been getting the medical fraternity to speak out ... mostly because they signed the Hippocratic Oath."
Ethics Institute of SA chief executive officer Prof Willem Landman had drafted a position paper on euthanasia for the organisation.
In it he said the key question was whether legalising assisted death would be consistent with the Bill of Rights in the Constitution.