I believe there is an unrecognised phenomenon in Australia that should be of concern. I refer to the growing incidence of rational suicide by the elderly and the terminally and hopelessly ill. This letter is being sent to all state and Territory coroners to increase awareness of this important issue.
Australia has an ageing society. While lifespans are extending, death itself is increasingly the result of debilitating degenerative disease of mind and body. Medical advances provide for dwindling life to be sustained until medicos allow death to occur. Terminal sedation, the standard response for intractable symptoms, is common and considered undignified. Some people are determined to avoid spending their final months or years as a demented patient.