Care for our dying falls short

Campbells Creek couple David and Kathie Williamson with a photograph of their daughter, Dawn.

Campbells Creek couple David and Kathie Williamson with a photograph of their daughter, Dawn.

A Campbells Creek couple who lost their daughter to an incurable brain tumour two years ago say there is a critical need for more hospices to cater for dying patients in the local area.

As Victoria's Upper House MPs are tomorrow expected to resume the marathon debate over the state's controversial voluntary euthanasia bill, David and Kathy Williamson also say that after losing their beloved daughter, Dawn, they strongly oppose voluntary euthanasia.

"When Dawn was in hospice care with a brain tumour we were told by hospice management that she could not remain in the hospice due to there being insufficient beds within the hospice in the region of Central Victoria," Mr Williamson says.

Dawn, 27, died in May 2015, on the night before she was scheduled to leave Bendigo Hospice in Mercy Street and go home to die.

"The bottom line is that we want more hospice facilities in the area so other people don't have to go through what our daughter did," Mr Williamson said.

"All the staff at the hospice were marvellous. It was the hospice policy that was cold-hearted."

Mrs Williamson says the Bendigo Hospice is the only one of its kind available to cater for the area from Mildura to Woodend "and everywhere in-between".

"The government needs to step up to the mark, providing more hospice and palliative care facilities, now, so that other people who find themselves

terminally ill are not confronted with a timeframe to die outside of a hospice," David Williamson says.

"The region then, and still to this day, has insufficient hospice facilities.

"Our daughter's only options given by hospice management were that she move into an aged care facility or return to her own home to die.

"Not long after her first being diagnosed with the brain tumour and told that her condition was terminal and inoperable, a great fear which our daughter

spoke about, was that of being placed in an aged care facility.

"The hospice management and medical staff met with my wife, our daughter, and some very close friends of ours.

"The outcome of that meeting resulted in hospice management placing a timeframe on how long our daughter was allowed to remain in the hospice.

"The journey of our daughter having to suffer with a brain tumour was traumatic enough in itself without being told by the powers that be she was not allowed to remain in the hospice."

While many strongly support voluntary euthanasia, the Williamsons personally fear the anticipated passing of assisted dying legislation in Victoria will result in some terminally ill patients feeling pressured into choosing euthanasia

"People who are ill are going to be made to feel they're a burden and will feel pressure to chose euthanasia," Mrs Williamson says.

"Our daughter was a person of great faith in the God of the Bible and would never ever have chosen euthanasia," Mr Williamson says.

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