A TERMINALLY ill Hunter man has used a Game Of Thrones analogy to help explain his stance on euthanasia.
Lambton man John Grayson has a malignant brain tumour which he says will lead to right side paralysis, partial blindness, cognitive impairment and pain towards the end of his illness. He was given two-to-five years to live when diagnosed in 2014.
The self-confessed “hardcore nerd” said he dreaded the thought of essentially “becoming brain dead” as his cancer progressed.
“A part of that dread is perhaps because of my own ‘nerdiness’,” he said.
“I have a strong love affair for sciences, especially physics and chemistry… So while I'm aware no one wants to lose their mind, I think my fear of cognitive impairment is perhaps my greatest fear.”
He has become an advocate for euthanasia, contributing to Andrew Denton’s book The Damage Done and appearing on the ABC’s Q&A and You Can’t Ask That programs.
Mr Grayson penned an open letter to South Australian Parliament members after voluntary euthanasia was recently knocked back in the state.
One of his biggest frustrations in the fraught euthanasia debate was the concept that “we can’t allow doctors to kill,” he said.
“It's not the doctor that is killing me, it's the cancer. The doctor is giving the best medical aid possible – to end my suffering,” Mr Grayson said.
He used a scene in the popular TV series Game Of Thrones to describe his thoughts on euthanasia.
“One of the characters – Mance Rayder – was to be executed by being burnt at the stake,” he said.
“His execution was taking place, but Jon Snow – the good guy – broke the rules and instead shot a crossbow into Mance killing him instantly and ending his suffering.
“Mance was already dying, and he'd soon be dead.
“No one would argue Jon killed him, he instead ended Mance's suffering of being on fire, in pain, and stress.”
Mr Grayson said the existence of euthanasia laws could improve the mental health of the terminally ill by offering another option.
The Australian Medical Association said doctors have an ethical duty to care for dying patients so that death can occur “in comfort and with dignity,” but that they should not be involved in interventions that have ending someone’s life as their primary intention.
Mr Grayson said brain pain was hard to treat.
He was not scared of death itself, but of being alive in that “end state.”
“It might seem strange, but having euthanasia as an option removes the concern of your final time,” Mr Grayson said.